The Belgian national team coach, Carlo Bomans, has visited the Olympic road race parcours in China last summer, and the itinerary of the World Championships in Varese, Italy, recently. La Dernière Heure's Eric de Falleur asked the 1989 Belgian champion what he thought of the courses.
"The circuit of Varese is very nervous," Bomans detailed. "It twists and turns, goes up and down all the time. It's not an easy course, even if I think it might be a bit easier than Stuttgart last year. But you can't really compare the two, as the two climbs are different [Montello climb: 1150m, 6.5 percent, Ronchi climb: 3130m, 4.5 percent - ed.]. The finish doe not come after a descent this time- After the last climb, there's a long false flat. The finish will be in a hippodrome; the entrance is very narrow and this could even be dangerous."
As to the Olympic road race parcours, Bomans said that he thought it was "the most difficult that has ever been laid out for this sort of race. The circuit is terribly difficult, and the favourites will be people like Valverde, Bettini, Di Luca, Menchov, the Schleck brothers, Contador or Evans. I found the course too hard, even. A complete rider will not be on top of it – you have to be a climber, it will be a real race of attrition.
"After a flat part of 80 kilometres coming from the centre of Beijing, there will be six laps of 22 km each. The circuit has one climb of about ten kilometres, then there's a descent of about the same length. The climb is a real mountain, between 6 an 8 percent average gradient. It's like the Poggio, but four times longer and to be climbed six times!"