Olympic Road Race Full Preview: ‘The Hardest Course In Modern History’ Says Phil Liggett

 Phil Liggett, the international voice of cycling, says the Olympic Road Race course is so brutal he doubts an Aussie rider will actually finish the race.

After scouting the course in preparation for commentary, Liggett said it was probably the hardest course he’d seen in the history of the modern Olympiad.

Speaking to media from Rio, Liggett compared the tough, 237.5km course to a cross between a Grand Tour mountain stage and European classic – only harder.

 “It’s going to look like one of the most beautiful courses ever seen in an Olympic Games,” he said.

“But it might be too hard to be a spectacle, with the Olympic Games and small teams and diversity, you’re going to have the creme de la creme left after the first circuit and then it will be an elimination race between a handful of strong men.”


Four Australian riders will be at the start at 10:30pm (AEST) – Scott Bowden, Simon Clarke, Rohan Dennis and Richie Porte who is considered our best-placed medal hopeful.

With multiple Tour de France winner Chris Froome the hot favourite to win, other riders including Alejandro Valverde (Spain), Wout Poels (Netherlands), Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), Dan Martin (Ireland) and Colombian climber Rigoberta Uran are considered to be among the podium contenders.

In fantastic form after his 5th place finish at last month’s Tour de France, Aussie fans will be right behind Richie Porte as he hits the brutal 9km Vista Chinesa climb for the first, second and third time it is tackled before the finish.

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It’s that Vista Chinesa climb Phil Liggett says will will be the undoing of the majority of the field.

 “In my opinion some of the corners are 30 per cent, they’re that steep on the inside,” Liggett said.

“Personally I think there’ll be a handful of finishers.I don’t think there’s an Aussie that will survive this course to be honest, Richie will be the last man standing for sure.”

“But Valverde, Chris Froome, Rodriguez, maybe (Jarlinson) Pantano this new Colombian star, they’re the sort of guys who will ride well on this course. If Froome’s going to win he’s going to have to sort them out on the climb and hang on ahead of the race for 17km.”


The Olympic road race gets underway from 10:30 tonight and is scheduled to be broadcast on the 7 Network including 7 Mate and the ‘Olympics on 7 app’.

As is often the case with Olympic broadcasts, it is unclear how much of the race will be shown by the network.

Bicycling Australia will provide details of the best viewing options on our Facebook page prior to the start of the thrilling event – Click here to join the conversation. 

Men’s Olympic Road Race Start List

1 Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kazakhstan) 

2 Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan)
3 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain)
4 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spain)
5 Jon Izaguirre (Spain)
6 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spain)
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spain)
8 Esteban Chaves (Colombia)
9 Sergio Henao (Colombia)
10 Miguel Angel Lopez (Colombia)
11 Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia)
12 Rigoberto Uran (Colombia)
13 Julian Alaphilippe (France)
14 Romain Bardet (France)
15 Warren Barguil (France)
16 Alexis Vuillermoz (France)
17 Stephen Cummings (Great Britain)
18 Christopher Froome (Great Britain)
19 Ian Stannard (Great Britain)
20 Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)
21 Adam Yates (Great Britain)
22 Simon Clarke (Australia)
23 Rohan Dennis (Australia)
24 Scott Bowden (Australia)
25 Richie Porte (Australia)
26 Laurens De Plus (Belgium)
27 Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)
28 Serge Pauwels (Belgium)
29 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)
30 Tim Wellens (Belgium)
31 Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands)
32 Steven Kruijswijk (Netherlands)
33 Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
34 Wouter Poels (Netherlands)
35 Fabio Aru (Italy)
36 Damiano Caruso (Italy)
37 Alessandro De Marchi (Italy)
38 Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)
39 Diego Rosa (Italy)
40 Patrik Tybor (Slovakia)
41 Michael Albasini (Switzerland)
42 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
43 Steve Morabito (Switzerland)
44 Sébastien Reichenbach (Switzerland)
45 Sergei Chernetski (Russian Federation)
46 Pavel Kochetkov (Russian Federation)
47 Daniel Martin (Ireland)
48 Nicolas Roche (Ireland)
49 Emanuel Buchmann (Germany)
50 Simon Geschke (Germany)
51 Maximilian Levy (Germany)
52 Tony Martin (Germany)
53 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)
54 Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norway)
55 Vegard Stake Laengen (Norway)
56 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway)
57 Maciej Bodnar (Poland)
58 Michal Golas (Poland)
59 Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland)
60 Rafal Majka (Poland)
61 Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)
62 Christopher Juul Jensen (Denmark)
63 Chris Anker Sörensen (Denmark)
64 Jan Barta (Czech Republic)
65 Leopold Konig (Czech Republic)
66 Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)
67 Petr Vakoc (Czech Republic)
68 Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)
69 Denys Kostyuk (Ukraine)
70 Andriy Khripta (Ukraine)
71 Matej Mohoric (Slovenia)
72 Jan Polanc (Slovenia)
73 Primoz Roglic (Slovenia)
74 Simon Spilak (Slovenia)
75 Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea)
76 Ghader Mizbani (Iran)
77 Arvin Moazemi (Iran)
78 Mirsamad Pourseyedi (Iran)
79 Andre Cardoso (Portugal)
80 Rui Costa (Portugal)
81 José Mendes (Portugal)
82 Nelson Oliveira (Portugal)
83 Abderrahmane Mansouri (Algeria)
84 Youcef Reguigui (Algeria)
85 Stefan Denifl (Austria)
86 Georg Preidler (Austria)
87 Anass Ait El Abdia (Morocco)
88 Soufiane Haddi (Morocco)
89 Mouhssine Lahsaini (Morocco)
90 Brent Bookwalter (United States Of America)
91 Taylor Phinney (United States Of America)
92 Tanel Kangert (Estonia)
93 Rein Taaramae (Estonia)
94 Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania)
95 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania)
96 George Bennett (New Zealand)
97 Zac Williams (New Zealand)
98 Antoine Duchesne (Canada)
99 Hugo Houle (Canada)
100 Michael Woods (Canada)
101 Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus)
102 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus)
103 Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)
104 Kohei Uchima (Japan)
105 Ok Cheol Kim (Korea)
106 Joon Yong Seo (Korea)
107 Jonathan Monsalve (Venezuela)
108 Miguel Armando Ubeto (Venezuela)
109 Kristijan Durasek (Croatia)
110 Matija Kvasina (Croatia)
111 Frank Schleck (Luxembourg)
112 Daniel Diaz (Argentina)
113 Maximiliano Richeze (Argentina)
114 Eduardo Sepulveda (Argentina)
115 Daryl Impey (South Africa)
116 Louis Meintjes (South Africa)
117 Aleksejs Saramotins (Latvia)
118 Toms Skujins (Latvia)
119 King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong China)
120 Jose Luis Rodriguez (Chile)
121 Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwanda)
122 Maksym Averin (Azerbaijan)
123 Serghei Tvetcov (Romania)
124 Luis Lemus (Mexico)
125 Onur Balkan (Turkey)
126 Ahmet Örken (Turkey)
127 Andrey Amador (Costa Rica)
128 Kleber Ramos (Brazil)
129 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Brazil)
130 Ioannis Tamouridis (Greece)
131 Ali Nouisri (Tunisia)
132 Stefan Koychev Hristov (Bulgaria)
133 Manuel Rodas (Guatamala)
134 Byron Guama (Ecuador)
135 Ivan Stevic (Serbia)
136 Tsgabu Grmay (Ethiopia)
137 Diego Milan (Dominican Republic)
138 Daniel Craven (Namibia)
139 Oscar Soliz (Bolivia)
140 Qendrim Guri (Kosovo)
141 Brian Babilonia (Puerto Rico)
142 Yousef Mohamed Mirza (United Arab Emirates)
143 Ariya Phounsavath (Laos)
144 Alexey Kurbatov (Russian Federation)


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