SBS Cycling Commentator Mike Tomalaris isn't quite ready to put his money on the favourites for the road race at the Beijing Games.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

When it comes to the cycling men's road race at the Olympics, I'm not in the business of hanging myself out to dry.

If there's one event which is perhaps the most difficult to predict it's this one.

A one-day race over a distance of around 200 kilometres is a lottery as far as I'm concerned.

The Tour de France has just been completed and therefore you'd think Carlos Sastre would be an obvious choice for the gold medal with Australia's Cadel Evans battling for the minor placings. But I just don't necessarily see it that way.

Spain has named a super, super team of five super riders with super credentials.

Sastre will be joined by Alberto Contador (the 2008 winner of the Giro), Oscar Freire (winner of Tour de France green jersey), Samuel Sanchez (Tour de France top 10 finisher) and Alejandro Valverde (Tour de France stage winner and winner of the Dauphine Libere).

Don't discount the Aussies either.

Cadel Evans will spearhead an experienced and successful squad which includes Simon Gerrans, Stuart O'Grady, Matt Lloyd and Michael Rogers.

Italy has also named a strong squad but I'll be frank - given the suspension of Riccardo Ricco from the Tour and the latest positive return by the Giro's winner of the mountain competition this year, I'm hoping the Italians get burned in Beijing.

There's obviously a major doping culture that still exists in that country, and a gold medal to Italy would not be justified in my opinion, given the recent series of drug-related events.

So here are my medal tips for Beijing.

Gold: Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
Silver: Andy Schleck (LUX)
Bronze: Matt Lloyd (AUS)