Commonwealth Games time trial preview: Wind and strong field may bring surprises

Nathan O’Neill (Aus) is the favourite

Nathan O’Neill (Aus) is the favourite (Image credit: Mark Gunter)

By Rob Jones and Les Clarke

Today's men's and women's time trials, which take place along the coast next to Port Phillip Bay, are shaping up as being tri-nations battles, with Australia, England and New Zealand going in as the three strongest nations. Canada and South Africa will also go into the event as good medal chances, with several strong riders taking to the start at St Kilda Beach.

Riders head out from the beach in a south-easterly direction - 14.5 kilometres for the women and 20 kilometres for the men - before retracing their path back to the finish. There are no major climbs, but the wind may be a factor. However, conditions this morning are reported to be calm, and the forecast is for morning cloud and local fog clearing to a fine and mostly sunny afternoon with light easterly wind and afternoon seabreezes.

Canadian time trial champion Svein Tuft said yesterday that it's a course which favours him. "I like this course a lot. I like that it's windy; right now it is kind of a cross-head wind on the way out and cross-tail on the way back," he said. "The pavement is super smooth, so it's going to be fast. The hardest sections will likely be some of the false flats which are fairly exposed to the wind. You'll have to ride smart, and make sure that you have power left for the return in the tail wind, so that you can really crank it up. I'm feeling really good; ready to rip it."

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