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Olympic Games 2012: Olympic Men's Individual Time Trial


Time for the men to have their final chance on the road in the 2013 Olympics. 37 men will tackle this 44km course, going for the gold.

It is now time for the guys to show what they can do in the race against the clock. They are off for 44km on an overcast day.

Most of the names here are well-known, but we do have a few “exotics”, who will be the first to take off, including riders from Morocco, Venezuela, Iran, Turkey and Brazil.

If you want to know who is starting when, check out the list of start times here.

The riders will be taking of at 1:30 intervals.

The first "big name" rider is now underway: Fumiyuki Beppu of Japan.

The  37 riders represent 28 different countries.  Seven countries have two representatives:  Kazakhstan, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Great Britian.

It is a rolling course, mainly through the Surrey countryside. The race starts and ends at historic Hampton Court Palace.

Hampton Court Palace was built by Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York, in the early 1500s. When he fell out of favour with Henry VIII, the King took it over. The Palace now is cared for by a private charity and is open to the public.

Lars Boom of the Netherlands is ready to go. We already have such well-known riders as Lars Bak, Michael Albasini and Fabio Duarte on the road.

Boom is actually prologue specialist, so this is a tad long for him. He was a replacement in this race for Niki Terpstra.

Bradey Wiggins (Great Britain) is, of course, the top favourite here today. He absolutely dominated the time trials in the recent Tour de France, which he won.

Philippe Gilbert of Belgium is next up. He has not been able to repeat his super year of 2011 -- but it would have been amazing if he had done so.

There are four riders in this race who have also won the World time trial title. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) has in fact won that title four times), and Michael Rogers of Australia, who won it three times. And there are the two Germans, Bert Grabsch, who won in 2008, and current World champ Tony Martin.

Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal is riding for Canada.

On the course:
"It will be brutal. Slow roads. You have to stay on top of it for the whole ride. It's going to be horrible. There are some undulation and seams in the roads, there's some transitional stuff through the little villages. It beats you up. There are not a lot of consistent stretches of pavement. Depending on how the wind is, you really have to focus."

And more from Hesjedal, who has just departed:

Boom leads at the first time check, but the times are still pretty close.

The Canadian coach is Gord Fraser, and he was aksed who the course favours.  “(Christopher) Froome (GBR), but I think that Philippe Gilbert (BEL) has got some good form, I just don't know how much time he has devoted to his time trial bike. If he has done a bit of homework and got a bit more aero and stuff, who knows, someone like that could really do a good ride. Jakob Fuglsang   (DEN) is another guy that could surprise but I think (Taylor) Phinney (USA) is the real joker."

Next up is Edvald Boasson Hagen,Norway's lone representative.

Former Olympic champion Jan Ullrich (road, not time trial) sees Wiggins as the favourite, or, as he put it, “good, better, Wiggins.”.  Writing for, he called the Briton “the perfect time triallist.”

Some more big names coming up now, with the best-known being Michal Rogers of Australia. The three-time world TT champ takes off at 14:55:30.

Lars Bak of Denmark has the best time at the 18.4km time check.

And another former World champ has taken to the course: Germany's Bert Grabsch.

Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel is on his way. Only seven more riders left to start. And so far none has yet finished.

Chris Froome is up next. How will he stand up to teammate Brad Wiggins today?

Speaking of Wiggins, he just got on his bike and is making his way to the start ramp. He takes off at 15:07.

Disaster for Luis Leon Sanchez. His chain jumps off immediately as he takes off.  He has to stop and wait for a new bike.

America's one and only hope for a medal today -- Taylor Phinney -- is next to go.

Only three riders left to start, but what riders they are!  Martin, Wiggins and Cancellara. Wouldn't suprise us to see those three in some combination as our podium.

German and World champion Tony Martin goes now. He is still fighting with that broken bone in his hand.

Bradley Wiggins! What can one say? Is there anyone at all who doesn't think he will win today?

And our last rider takes off: the fabulous Fabian Cancellara. Let's face it, he has had infinitely more bad luck this year than good luck. Surely it is time for his luck to change to good, for good.

Castroviejo (Spain) has the best time at the second time check, ahead of Boasson Hagen and Fuglsang.

Castroviejo has now caught his 90 second man, Hesjedal.

Two riders are in now, the first two riders to go. Tomas Gil Martinez of Venezuela is the current leader, with a time of 57:05.12.

Wow, are there lots of fans along the road! What a great sight!

The defending Olympic champion is Italy's Cancellara, who is riding today with difficulties. He crashed heavily on his right shoulder in Saturday's road race. His participation today was questionable for a while, but he has decided to go for it.

We hear that Martin is the fastest at the first time check, even ahead of Wiggins.

Brazilian Magno Prado Nazaret now has the best time at the finish, 55:50.77.

But that is topped by Beppu, in a time of 55:40.64.

Germany's Martin is also riding with an injury. He broke a bone in his hand during the Tour de France. He says, though, that it bothers him more during a road race than during the time trial.

The fans are cheering loudly for each and every rider, not just the locals.

Cancellara is over five seoncds behind Martin at the first time check.

Froome now has the best time at the second time check.

The USA's Taylor Phinney has based his whole season on this race.  He spent the last six weeks training on a course he laid out near his home in Boulder, Colorado, which resembles today's course as closely as possible.

This is just really not Sanchez' day. Now he has punctured and Phinney sails right on past him.

Boom crosses the line in second place, nearly a minute behind Bak.

Here's what Michael Rogers had to say.

On recovering from the road race and the Tour de France:
"I was a bit tired after it (road race), and actually yesterday I was still quite tired. I think I really needed the road race (after the Tour de France). I've been quit lethargical during the (road) race until the last 100km, and obviously after such a race, you feel a bit tired again, but today I had good signs from my body."

On his medal chances:
"In the past, for the one-day time trials I'm always up around the mark, so I certainly hope to do a good ride. I feel fresh today. If I'm on a good day I think I can definitely medal."

Martin tops Froome's best time at the second time check, by more than 12 seconds. Wiggins will be there soon, and he now cracks Martin's time by 11 seconds.

Janez Brajkovic is the new leader, at 54:09.72.

Cancellara comes to the second time check as fourth, some 30 seconds down.

Here's some more from Rogers, who now leads at the third time check.

Rogers is the only Australian in the race, but he wasn't supposed to be.  Cadel Evans decided a day or two ago not to race the time trial. This is what Rogers had to say about it:

Spain is now leading the race, with Castroviejo putting in a final time of 53:29.36.

At the  29km marker, Martin sets a new best time, over 19 seconds better than Froome.

And Wiggins blasts that time as well, 22 seconds faster than Martin.

One last thought from Rogers, about the weather:

Cancellara fifth at that time check, 1:20 down on Wiggins.

Matthew White, Australian coach, had his say as well.

On the favourites for the time trial race:
"Michael (Rogers) is feeling good and he's one of the guys in the hunt for a medal. Along with the two Brits (Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, GBR), Taylor Phinney (USA), Fabian Cancellara (SUI), Tony Martin (GER), Gustav Larsson (SWE) and Marco Pinotti (ITA). I can't see anyone getting a medal outside of those guys."

On Michael Rogers, who finished fourth at Athens 2004 and fifth at Beijing 2008:
"He's been in the mix for the last two Olympics. The Olympics are the cream of the cream. If he shows the form he had in the Dauphine (in June) he's definitely in for a very big chance for winning it. Physically he has exited the Tour de France very well."

Rogers comes to the line in a tie of 52:51, which is 37 seconds faster than the former best time.

And more from White:

Grabsch currently second at the end, 26 seconds down.

Now Froome comes to the finish and sets a new best time -- at least for the moment. He breaks the 52 minute mark, with a time of 51:47.

Jim Miller is the USA Cycling vice president of athletics. He gave some opinions, too.

On hopes for Taylor Phinney (USA) in the men's individual time trial:
"Yes, he's podium material. A top-five would be spectacular, so any time you can get into the top five, you can certainly start to hunt medals. So who knows what happens at the front of the race.",

On performances during the men's and women's road races over the weekend:
"We had two really good road races. We played perfect tactics. Both teams executed the tactics. They were prepared. It's a shame to walk away without one medal, if not two. The positive is that we had two really good teams that came to race and that's just how it plays out sometimes. PHINNEY was fourth and Shelley (OLDS, USA) punctured in the winning move with 25km to go. There were four in that group and a medal would have almost been a guarantee. That's bike racing."

Taylor Phinney of the USA can be said to have Olympic blood in his veins.  Both of his parents have won Olympic medals. His mom, Connie Carpenter Phinney, won the women's road race in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.  She also competed in the 1972 Winter Olympcs, in speed skate, as a 14 year old.  His dad, Davis Phinney, won bronze in 1984 in the men's 100 km team time trial.

Only two km for Wiggins before he is crowned the new Olympic time trial king.

Martin wobbles through a final corner, as Phinney heads to the finish line, 50 seconds down in second place.

Martin has the lead for a few seconds, as Wiggins is up out of the saddle on his way to the win.

Will he crack the 51 minute mark?

Yes!  He crosses the line in 50:39.54, 42 seconds better than Martin.

We are not done, though. Cancellara is still on the course.

Cancellara finishes fourth, 30.83 down.

Oh sorry, we were too quick there.  Cancellara is still underway.

The four-time World Champion is in fact seventh, with a time of 52:53.71.

Congratulations to Bradley Wiggins, on his seventh Olympic medal and his fourth gold!

To recap:

Congratulations to all, not only those with medals but all those who were here.

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