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Formidable four road cyclists ready to tame the roads of Rio

12 July 2016

CYCLING – ROAD: The four women who will aim to tame the tough roads of Rio have been selected for the 2016 Olympic Games.

The team features three Olympic debutants in Gracie Elvin, Katrin Garfoot and Rachel Neylan, as well as London 2012 Olympian Amanda Spratt.

Having finished fourth in the time trial at the 2016 World Championships, Garfoot will be Australia’s sole representative in the race against the clock around Rio.

The 130.3km road race course that begins and ends at the iconic Copacabana Beach features a number of tricky climbs, as well as 2km of cobblestones, that will test the world’s very best in Rio.

The Aussie quartet have high hopes and believe they have the team to secure a podium finish in both the road race and time trial.

“I believe we have a strong, smart and committed team capable of a medal if we race with smart tactics,” said Neylan, who finished June with a win at the Plumelec Grand Prix in France.

“Our time trial specialist Katrin Garfoot has proven ability to compete for a medal, the course is well suited to her strengths and her preparation so far has been outstandingly professional.”

Having won silver in the road race at the 2012 World Championships, Neylan will get a chance to line up at her first Olympics in Rio.

“Words can't adequately describe the feeling of ultimate deep happiness and pride I have at the moment, not to mention the enormous smile on my face.

“To become a world class athlete and have the opportunity to perform as an Australian Olympian has been a lifelong dream.

“As good as it feels however, arriving on the team is only the first step, the greater vision is performing in the green and gold, making Australia proud and inspiring a nation.”

Alongside Spratt and Garfoot, Neylan got a chance to test out just how hard the Rio course will be.

“I was fortunate enough to have seen the course on a reconnaissance trip supported by Cycling Australia.

“The course is very challenging, it has a unique variety of elements including flat exposed sections, a cobblestone section, steep short climbs and a long steep climb the combination of which will test many abilities.

“The standout feature is the large amount of total altitude metres and the 130km length.

“Having seen and felt the course under my wheels will be a great advantage in both mental and physical preparation.”

While it will be extremely difficult in Rio the team will be buoyed by a host of strong results in 2016.

Along with Neylan’s win in France she also finished second in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and third in the road race at the National Championships to kick off the year, events both won by Spratt.

Elvin won the Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik in Belgium and also took out the Mitchelton Bay Classic while Garfoot took out the time trial at the National Championships and also won the Santos Women’s Tour.

The team will finalise their preparation with a seven-day tour in Germany before heading to the AIS training base in Varese, Italy.

The women’s road race takes place on day 2 of Olympic competition (August 7) with Garfoot set to contest the time trial on Day 5 (August 10).

Since road cycling was introduced for women in 1984 Australia is one of only three countries with multiple Olympic champions in women’s events after both Kathryn Watt (Barcelona 1992) and Sara Carrigan (Athens 2004) won Olympic gold.

These four women take the overall 2016 Australian Olympic Team to 360 from 24 sports, with an expected final Team of 410 athletes.

MATT BARTOLO
olympics.com.au

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