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Luis León Sánchez (Spain) has named Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) as the standout favourite for the men’s time trial at the London 2012 Olympic Games, which takes place on Wednesday.
Wiggins won both long time trials at the Tour de France en route to his overall victory in the race, and although he spent much of Saturday’s road race riding on the front of the peloton in the service of Mark Cavendish, Sánchez is confident that the Briton will have recovered from his exertions ahead of the Olympic time trial.
“Wiggins has had enough time to recover,” Sánchez told Marca. “It’s true that they did a lot of work to try and control the road race for 250km. It seemed like they had it under control but the race was tougher than they thought. But Wiggins is coming from winning the Tour and he is the clear favourite for Wednesday.”
Sánchez himself finished a solid third in the final time trial of the Tour de France at Chartres, beaten only by Wiggins and his Sky teammate Chris Froome. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Tony Martin (Germany), who had both abandoned the Tour by that point, will be on the start line on Wednesday, but the last two world time trial champions enter the race still suffering the after-effects of recent crashes.
“I’ll try to keep up a good tempo, do a good time trial and finish as high as possible,” Sánchez said. “There are specialists who might be well ahead of us, but we have nothing to lose and I’ll try my best.”
Sánchez believes that the 44km London time trial course is not altogether dissimilar from the Chartres test at the Tour. “The only thing is that it’s very exposed, I don’t know how the wind will be on Wednesday,” he said. “But it’s a circuit that feels good.”
Sánchez finished 14th in Saturday’s road race after being one of three Spanish riders to make the decisive split that formed following the final ascent of Box Hill, along with Alejandro Valverde and Jonathan Castroviejo. He denied that he and Valverde had failed to concert their efforts in a frantic finale that saw Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) slip away to victory.
“Alejandro and I have known each other for a long time, we’ve been together on national selections on the same trade team. We know each other perfectly,” he said. “We just didn’t have the strength. Neither of us was able to follow Vinokourov and Rigoberto [Uran].”