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BikeNZ High Performance Road Director Sportif Andy Reid believes next year’s London Olympic course will prove a technically challenging.
The New Zealand team, led by Julian Dean, were caught behind a major crash 3km from the final with only Ashburton’s Jason Christie evading the carnage to finish in the top 15 bunch sprint won by Great Britain’s Mark Cavendish.
The field completed the 140km women’s course yesterday with just two laps of the Box Hill loop but it was sufficient to give a good indication that it will provide a strong test next year. The men’s race will comprise nine circuits around the Surrey Hills course after the initial route out of the city from The Mall, passing Buckingham Palace and the central London landmarks.
“It’s a pretty neat course. Technically it will be full-on and that will demand full concentration throughout,” Reid said.
“The course can get tight at times and quite often the field were down to single file with the very narrow corners. Placement in the bunch will be critical and I think it is that technical aspect of the course that will make it very tough.
“I think that it is very possible for the elastic to break and a group could get away.”
Reid said the course will be extremely challenging if it is wet.
“Overall we got out of it what we wanted. We didn’t need the crash because we were travelling well with the group well position to set-up Julian for the sprint finish.”
Cavendish produced his trademark sprint along The Mall in London to win from Sacha Modolo (ITA) and Samuel Dumoulin (FRA). The crash also counted out the chances of American sprinter Tyler Farrar and the Australian team with only Stuart O’Grady and Matt Goss getting through.
Meanwhile 22 year old Timaru rider Shane Archbold has won the final stage of the La Mi-Aout en Bretagne in France today.
Archbold, competing with the BikeNZ endurance track team, took out the fourth and final stage over 179km to Guerlesquin in Brittany.
Timaru’s Marc Ryan was the best of the New Zealanders in 12th place on general classification going into the final stage.
The team were unavailable for comment as they headed back immediately after the race to their base in Belgium.
Also in Europe, BikeNZ Olympic hopefuls Jesse Sergent and Sam Bewley completed solid performances in the Tour of Eneco in The Netherlands.
Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen negotiated disastrously wet conditions on the final day to claim the overall title with Sergent seventh in the points classification and Bewley 11th in the young rider competition while both helped Radioshack to the team honours.