Australia’s road cycling team has been officially named, with three Olympic debutants - Gracie Elvin, Katrin Garfoot and Rachel Neylan - and London 2012 Olympian Amanda Spratt to ride in Rio.
Garfoot will also compete in the time trial event.
The road race course begins and ends at the iconic Copacabana Beach. It features a number of tricky climbs and 2km of cobblestones.
While cycling is often thought of as an individual sport, even in the Olympics it’s very much about teamwork and planning.
“I believe we have a strong, smart and committed team capable of a medal if we race with smart tactics,” Neylan said.
“Our time trial specialist Katrin Garfoot has proven ability to compete for a medal, the course is well suited to her strengths and her preparation so far has been outstandingly professional.”
“As good as it feels however, arriving on the team is only the first step, the greater vision is performing in the green and gold, making Australia proud and inspiring a nation.”
Alongside Spratt and Garfoot, Neylan recently got the chance to test out just how hard the Rio course will be.
“The course is very challenging, it has a unique variety of elements including flat exposed sections, a cobblestone section, steep short climbs and a long steep climb the combination of which will test many abilities.”
It’s a good thing the team is in top form, with a number of excellent results behind them in 2016.
Neylan took out the Plumelec Grand Prix in France in June. She also finished second in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and third in the road race at the National Championships to kick off the year, events both won by Spratt.
Elvin won the Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik in Belgium and the Mitchelton Bay Classic while Garfoot was first in the time trial at the National Championships and also won the Santos Women’s Tour.
The team will finalise their preparation with a seven-day tour in Germany before heading to the AIS training base in Varese, Italy.
The women’s road race takes place on day 2 of Olympic competition (August 7) with Garfoot set to contest the time trial on day 5 (August 10).