Belgium’s Anna van der Breggen took home the gold medal in Sunday’s thrilling road race, but can she make it a clean sweep at the time trials?
No rider has ever won the road race and the time trials at the same Olympic Games, but she is the odds on favorite going into Wednesday’s race. Van der Breggen’s excellent on both flat ground and climbing, as she proved during the road race, so Rio’s course suits her well.
Team USA’s Linda Armstrong won gold in both 2012 and 2008, but she’s turning 43-years old and just carried a heavy workload during the road race. Her teammate Evelyn Stevens, however, is a likely candidate to take out van der Breggen. Stevens has excelled in time trials, but she’s also a skilled climber – necessary for Rio.
Stevens beat van der Breggen by four seconds in the 21.9km time trial at last month's Giro d'Italia and the pair could be in for a big battle once again.
Linda Villumsen of New Zealand is the reigning world champion in time trial and will be a force to be reckoned with. She’s not as accomplished a climber, however. She finished 23rd in the road race, so a gold here will be an uphill battle, so to speak.
Germany’s Lisa Brennauer may be another casualty to the hilly Rio course. She’s typically fairly strong in time trials, but she prefers flat routes and is likely to struggle.