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2008 Olympic Medals

2008 Olympic Medals

I came across an interesting site which handicaps races of all types for online betting sites.  The average odds for the Olympic Time Trial at the site at the time of the post are listed below. The odds makers have all the favorites that we have been reading about for many weeks on the top of the list. 

The Men’s race looks to be wide open. Of the several riders who have a chance, here are my picks. I think Schumacher will win gold based mainly on the tour time trials where he really took it to the field including Cancellara. I think Leipheimer will win silver due to time trial and climbing skills. Cancellara’s is my pick for bronze due mainly to his effort in the road race and that he is a monster of course. Kim Kirchen is my spoiler for silver or bronze. He showed his mettle with two exceptional performances at this years Tour de France. He is on form and able to power on the mountains.

To be frank, I think the US would have been better off with Vande Velde for the time trial. He has nearly matched Kirchens TT performances this year and is excellent form. I would have put him in as spoiler as well. That said, Zabriskie may derive motivation to prove, as he has been saying, that he is in contention.

Underlying this situatuion is the selection process. I am not trying to second guess the US Olympic Committee or diminish the exceptional talants of Dave Zabriskie. I recognize that the process by which athletes are selected attempts to balance many factors and rightly so. Key among them is to select an athlete early enough for them to prepare adequately. In addition, an early select offers the potential for the athlete to time training for peak performance. Of course the other side of it is that an early selection has the disadvantage of missing the rider who is healthy and peaking. An early select may commit the team to a rider who does not mature as expected.

Unfortunately the ‘balance’ is cemented in the form of a selection process unique to each sport. It is an attempt to build the most competive team as fairly as possible. A process that for some sports limits flexibility. That is what we have in this case. 

It could be worse. Consider gymnastics. The fairness in submitting the the Karolyi’s to hand pick a team seems a bit suspect. Worse yet is having coaches invite players to a selection camp as was done for women’s basketball team selection. That situation lead to some major drama. I expect that the process will be adjusted and fine tuned many more times in the future.

Ok, sorry for the tangent.

As for the women’s race, I like Kristen Armstrong. She is more than capable of stomping this course and will. I have Soeder’s for silver based on a driven road race performance on top of strong time trial performance at worlds. World time trial champ Kupfernagel is my pick for bronze.

Men’s Field
Fabian Cancellara – 1.67 to 1
Stefan Schumacher – 4.75 to 1
Michael Rogers – 15 to 1
Christian Vandevelde – 19 to 1
Levi Leipheimer – 22 to 1
Alberto Contador – 22 to 1
David Zabriskie – 23 to 1
Cadel Evans – 23 to 1
Santiago Botero – 23 to 1

Women’s Field
Kristin Armstrong – 3.38 to 1
Hanka Kupfernagel – 3.38 to 1
Christiane Soeder – 5.46 to 1
Priska Doppmann – 5.46 to 1
Mirjam Melchers – 10.50 to 1
Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli – 10.50 to 1
Emma Pooley – 10.50 to 1
Zulfiya Zabirova – 10.97 to 1
Susanne Ljungskog – 12.88 to 1

Guardian Article about the British Chances
CBS Sports Article on USA Zabriskie and Thorburn Chances
Cycling News Article on the Olympic Time Trial

2008 Olympic Time Trial Start List
11:30:00 25 Alexandra Wrubleski (Canada)
11:32:00 24 Lang Meng (China)
11:34:00 23 Natalia Boyarskaya (Russia)
11:36:00 22 Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania)
11:38:00 21 Emma Pooley (Great Britain)
11:40:00 20 Maryline Salvetat (France)
11:42:00 19 Emma Johansson (Sweden)
11:44:00 18 Min Gao (China)
11:46:00 17 Karin Thurig (Switzerland)
11:48:00 16 Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
11:50:00 15 Zulfiya Zabirova (Kazakhstan)
11:52:00 14 Linda Melanie Villumsen Serup (Denmark)
11:54:00 13 Judith Arndt (Germany)
11:56:00 12 Tatiana Guderzo (Italy)
11:58:00 11 Jeannie Longo-ciprelli (France)
12:00:00 10 Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (Netherlands)
12:02:00 9 Priska Doppmann (Switzerland)
12:04:00 8 Oenone Wood (Australia)
12:06:00 7 Marta Vilajosana (Spain)
12:08:00 6 Kristin Armstrong (USA)
12:10:00 5 Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden)
12:12:00 4 Christiane Soeder (Austria)
12:14:00 3 Nicole Cooke (Great Britain)
12:16:00 2 Christine Thorburn (USA)
12:18:00 1 Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany)

Wave 1
13:30:00 39 Matias Medici (Argentina)
13:31:30 38 Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan)
13:33:00 37 Hossein Askari (Iran)
13:34:30 36 Svein Tuft (Canada)
13:36:00 35 Matija Kvasina (Croatia)
13:37:30 34 David George (South Africa)
13:39:00 33 Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus)
13:40:30 32 Matej Jurco (Slovakia)
13:42:00 31 Denys Kostyuk (Ukraine)
13:43:30 30 Steve Cummings (Great Britain)
13:45:00 29 Brian Vandborg (Denmark)
13:46:30 28 Raivis Belohvosciks (Latvia)
13:48:00 27 Robert Gesink (Netherlands)
Wave 2
14:30:00 26 Simon Spilak (Slovenia)
14:31:30 25 Rein Taaramae (Estonia)
14:33:00 24 Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)
14:34:30 23 Ryder Hesjedal (Canada)
14:36:00 22 Andrey Mizourov (Kazakhstan)
14:37:30 21 Przemyslaw Niemec (Poland)
14:39:00 20 Maxime Monfort (Belgium)
14:40:30 19 Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)
14:42:00 18 David Zabriskie (USA)
14:43:30 17 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hungary)
14:45:00 16 Chris Anker Sorensen (Denmark)
14:46:30 15 Bert Grabsch (Germany)
14:48:00 14 Denis Menchov (Russia)
Wave 3
15:30:00 13 Samuel Sánchez (Spain)
15:31:30 12 Santiago Botero (Colombia)
15:33:00 11 Marzio Bruseghin (Italy)
15:34:30 10 Michael Rogers (Australia)
15:36:00 9 Vladimir Karpets (Russia)
15:37:30 8 Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg)
15:39:00 7 Gustav Erik Larsson (Sweden)
15:40:30 6 Levi Leipheimer (USA)
15:42:00 5 Stef Clement (Netherlands)
15:43:30 4 Alberto Contador (Spain)
15:45:00 3 Cadel Evans (Australia)
15:46:30 2 Stefan Schumacher (Germany)
15:48:00 1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)


The Olympic Time Trial is to be held on Aug 13th. The women’s time trial is first starting at 11:30am

Kristan Armstrong

Kristen Armstrong

followed by the men’s at 1:30pm. There are 25 in the women’s field and 40 in the men’s. I have yet to find a start list but will post when it becomes available. The back drop for the course is nothing less than the Great Wall of China. It should be epic.

The time trial course follows the same circuit from the road race. The women will complete one circuit and the men will do two loops. The time trial loop is extremely difficult featuring a 1200+ft climb over 8.7 mile saw tooth path with grades as high as 10%. The circuit accent is followed by a short roller then an 5 mile descent to the valley bottom.

2008 Olympic Time Trial Elevation Profile

2008 Olympic Time Trial Elevation Profile

As with the road course the time trial course will again favor climbers. Expect riders to opt for the lightest configurations permissible rather than disc or deep dish wheels. There is no point to hauling any more weight than necessary up the mountain. Those climbers with time trialing skills will likely fair best. I would expect to see GC level contenders rise to the top over one day race specialists. Riders  like Levi, Schumacher, Cadel, and Kirchen should do well. In the women’s field I expect the defending TT world champion Hanker Kupfernagel to do. Kristen Armstrong of the US and Christian Soeder of Austria, who also finished on the podium at worlds, will be interesting to watch too.

Short list of Time Trial Competitors:

Kristen Armstrong, US
Christine Thorburn, US
Hanker Kupfernagel, GER
Christian Soeder, AUS
Maria Isabel Moreno, SPA
Nicole Cooke, GB

Levi Leipheimer, US
David Zabriskie, US
Kim Kirchen, LX
Steve Cummings, GB
Michael Rogers, AU
Cadel Evans, AU
Stefan Schumacher, GER
Ryder Hesjedal, CAN
Fabian Cancellara, SWI
Alberto Contador, SPA
Denis Menchov, RUS
Marcus Ljungqvist, SWE
Gustav Larsson, SWE

News Articles About Time Trial

Dave Zabriskie, Cycling News
Kristin Armstrong Article New York Times
Kristin Armstrong Article Yahoo Sports

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