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Road Cycling Day 3 Preview: Men's & Women's Individual Time Trial

Updated: 2008-08-12 22:03:29

(BEIJING, August 12) -- Two days after the Men's and Women's Road Race, many of the world's top road cyclists will once again compete in the Men's and Women's Individual Time Trials on Wednesday, August 13.

The course for the Time Trial will be a 23.8km circuit covering a portion of the Road Race course between the Badaling and Juyongguan sections of the Great Wall. The men will complete two circuits and women will complete one in a race against the clock.

The Men's competition will have 40 competitors with the field divided into three groups; one group of 14 riders and two groups of 13. The Women's race will have 25 riders, all in the same group.

On the Women's side, Karin Thurig of Switzerland looks to continue her run of strong performances in 2008 and lines up as the favorite for the Women's Individual Time Trial event. Thurig boasts recent Time Trial victories at the Grande Boucle Feminine and Thuringen Rundfahrt. As the 2004 and 2005 Time Trial world champion, Thurig also claimed the 2006 Time Trial world championship silver medal and the Athens 2004 Individual Time Trial bronze medal.

Judith Arndt of Germany, the Athens 2004 Women's Road Race silver medalist, is a three-time podium finisher at the Time Trial world championship competition. Arndt will be looking to make up for a disappointing 41st in the Women's Road Race on August 10.

Despite finishing 25th in the Women's Road Race, Kristin Armstrong of the United States is a strong competitor having secured medals in three consecutive Time Trial world championships from 2005-07, a run that included the world title in 2006.

Other top challengers include Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, current world Road Cycling No. 1; reigning Time Trial world champion Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany; and 2007 Time Trial world champion Austrian Christiane Soeder who finished second behind Thurig in Time Trials at the Grande Boucle Feminine and Thuringen Rundfahrt.

And of course, Road Race Gold medalist Nicole Cooke of Great Britain should not be ruled out for double Gold following her impressive performance on the hilly course August 10.

On the Men's side, Swiss ace Fabian Cancellara could win his second medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games as he starts as one of the favorites for the 47.6km Men's Individual Time Trial. Cancellara won the bronze medal in the Men's Road Race on Saturday, August 9 with a late jump to the bridge up to the race leaders before sprinting to the final medal. The powerful Swiss rider, nicknamed "Spartacus," is the two-time defending Individual Time Trial world champion.

With two impressive Time Trial victories in the 2008 Tour de France, Stefan Schumacher of Germany proved he has the engine to challenge for the gold medal. He pulled out of the Men's Road Race, complaining about headaches due to the harsh conditions.

Cadel Evans of Australia is a time trial-specialist whose abilities match up well with the hilly course in this year's race. The two-time Tour de France runner up came to Beijing nursing a knee injury but a solid performance (15th) in the Men's Road Race showed he is fit again. He won the Time Trial in last year's Good Luck Beijing event.

American Levi Leipheimer finished 11th in the Men's Road Race. Known for his time trial consistency, Leipheimer won the final time trial in the 2007 Tour to secure third place overall and was victorious in the decisive time trial in the 2008 Tour of California to secure overall victory.

Also in contention is Spain's Alberto Contador who won this year's Giro d'Italia thanks in part to his strong second-place showing in the first Giro time trial. A late call-up for the Russian team, Denis Menshov's time trial abilities helped him win the Tour of Spain in 2005 and 2007 and may prove useful in Beijing. Marzio Bruseghin of Italy is also expected to show his skills having won the last two editions of the Giro, winning time trials on an uphill course on each occasion.

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