Team has more than one card to play
The Olympic Games is all about medals, and when it comes to the lottery of a professional road race, almost any colour will do. Heading into Saturday's men's road race Australia look set to cover all bases, with a line-up combining speed and aggression.
Packed with experience - four of their five started the men's road race in Beijing four years ago - the team are capable of packing a complete punch with Matthew Goss their sprinting card, while his teammates comprise of former world champions and Tour de France stage winners.
Matt White, who oversaw a silver medal for the team in Copenhagen's Worlds last year, has changed hats, sidelining his seat in the GreenEdge car for another stint of national service. The former pro, who was in London for the Olympic test event last summer believes that few teams will dedicate their recourses to a sprint.
"The different thing about this Olympic Games compared to a typical world championships is that the race will be won and lost between 80 kilometres to go and 50 kilometres to go. Because the last lap is so far from the finish I think there's going to be lot more action before the finish," team director Matt White told Cyclingnews.
"There aren't too many countries that will be interested in a bunch sprint. There's the Australians the Germans and the Brits, and there's the one man Slovakian show as well. Most of the traditional cycling nations don't want a sprint because they've got very limited chances of a medal. I expect the race to be aggressive early; otherwise it just plays into the hands of the Pomms."
White believes that the British team are unlikely to place a rider in the break, ensuring that Cavendish has four riders at his disposal for as long as possible in the race.
"I don't want go into too much detail but we've got a team that can afford to be aggressive. If it doesn't work out then we've always got Gossy for the sprint, we can work both ways. We'll be aggressive so I won't be concerned if one of our guys is going to the finish in a breakaway. They're all guys who know how to race and know how to win bikes races. We can play a lot of cards."
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