It’s a little late to be writing about the road races in Rio…but gawd damn, they were both so good that I can’t help it. Chapeau to the designer of the course, especially the finale. A very tough climb followed by an equally tough descent followed by an utterly flat but long run-in to the finish. Who knew it would produce two dramatic finishes? A one day race without big strong trade teams to control the action; there were some favorites but no sure winners. A friend who knows nothing about cycling watched both races and he could not stop talking about them. They were that good. I don’t ever need to see Annemiek Van Vleuten’s crash in slow-motion again. Thank the baby jesus she may have escaped without serious damage as that was one horrific way to stop a bike- with your face. I’ve seen no post-race interviews with Nibali but him sitting on the curb as the tv moto came by spoke volumes.
Was I happy as Rafal Majka scooted along the waterfront, safely down off the descent, heading for a solo gold medal? No, I was not. Nothing personal Rafal, I just didn’t want a climber to win this. It’s the same with Mara Abbott, I’m sure she would have been a worthy winner but damn it, a reedy climber off the front, on the flat, kilometers between her and the finish. Someone has to chase that climber down. It’s the non-grimpeur’s revenge. Once a climber isn’t climbing, they need to be hunted down. If climbers start winning too many races on the flats, well, it’s all over, isn’t it?
If Van Avermaet or Anna VDB were off the front with the same gap, they would have lasted to the finish, and I would have been cheering them on.