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Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 | From the Tour to the Games: Van Aert-Pogacar and everything you need to know about the long-awaited race

The men’s road event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will begin at 04:00 Spanish time (one hour before in the Canary Islands) on Saturday, July 24. Arrival time is expected between 11:00 and 11:30.

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Profile and tour

234 kilometers, with 4,865 meters of unevenness and up to five ascents.

The test will start through the streets of Tokyo, until reaching the outskirts at 40 kilometers, with a steady and steady uphill for the first 80 kilometers. There they will meet the Doushi Road pass, the first ascent of the day, and after the descent and a 20-kilometer plain awaits them on the way to the Kagosaka Pass.

Everything indicates that the race will break at kilometer 130, when it starts the ascent to Mount Fuji Sanroku, a long but not very demanding ascent of 10.5 kilometers, which will be crowned at an altitude of 1,451 meters and about 100 kilometers from the finish line. The descent and the broken terrain back will measure the legs of the favorites.

Then the key moment of the race will come on the hard and explosive climb to the Mikuni Pass, 6.8 kilometers at an average slope of 10% and with a ramp that reaches 18%. Undoubtedly the great litmus test for those chosen to fight for gold. The Mikuni Pass will be followed by another pass through Kagosaka, which is crowned at 20 kilometers from the finish line. The race will be launched from there to the finish line, with several slopes before the Exciting finale at the Fuji Auto Circuit.

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The favorites

FIVE STARS: Wout van Aert (Belgium). The route may be too tough for the Belgian, but his three victories on the Tour, one on the high mountains, one against the clock and the last one on sprinting, show us that there is no terrain that resists him. If you make it out of Mikuni Pass alive, you’ll have half a gold in your pocket. His great form makes him the great rival to beat by other cyclists.FOUR STARS: Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia), Remco Evenepoel (Belgium). What to say about the Slovenian. He comes from sweeping the Tour and is also capable of winning any type of Classical as he already demonstrated in Liège. His ambition and determination makes us think that he could try it out at the Mikuni Pass to venture the last 20 kilometers alone. Evenepoel, for his part, is anyone’s guess. If he is at his best, he will be a great asset for the Belgian team. He has not competed since he won the Tour of Belgium, after the Giro d’Italia, and he has prepared these Games thoroughly. The little cannibal must always be taken into account.

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THREE STARS: Primoz Roglic (Slovenia), Richard Carapaz (Ecuador), Alejandro Valverde (Spain). Like Evenepoel, Roglic’s performance is a question mark. The Slovenian had to leave the Tour due to a crash, which on the other hand has allowed him to focus on the Games before most of his rivals. A race with so much accumulated unevenness (4,865 meters) is ideal for a cyclist like Carapaz, who in the last week of the Tour proved to be at the level of Pogacar in the high mountains. For his part, Alejandro Valverde, the great asset of the Spanish team, comes with much better legs than those he showed in 2020 and the route can be similar to that of Innsbruck, where he won the world championship in 2018.TWO STARS: Joao Almeida (Portugal), Adam Yates (Britain), Sergio Higuita (Colombia), Michael Woods (Canada). Almeida has already shown in the Giro that he defends very well on this type of terrain. Adam Yates has not raced neither Giro nor Tour and, after being at a very high level in the first part of the season, he comes to the Games fully prepared and protected by a great team, with his brother Simon Yates, Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart. Sergio Higuita is the great Colombian hope in a high-class team that brings together Nairo Quintana, Daniel Felipe Martínez, Rigoberto Urán and Esteban Chaves. Also mention the always dangerous Michael Woods, a specialist in this type of event and who was already Valverde’s great rival at the Innsbruck World Cup. A STAR: Alberto Bettiol (Italy), Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan), David gaudu (France), Maximilian schachmann (Germany), Bauke mollema (Netherlands). Bettiol comes from doing a great Giro and he already knows what it is to surprise everyone in a one-day race of the highest prestige, as he did in Flanders in 2019. In addition, he will be well helped by the Nibali, Ciccone or Moscon. Lutsenko is facing the most regular season of his career and we already know how he spends it in this type of event. Without Alaphilippe, Gaudu will take the stripes in the French team. Schachmann will be another very tough nut to crack, while Mollema, who will have a very strong team with Dumoulin, Kelderman and van Baarle, He is capable of everything to a letter, as he already demonstrated on the Tour.

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The great absentees

Mathieu Van der Poel and Julian Alaphilippe they are the two big absentees in the Tokyo road event. Both would have been nominated as two of the great favorites for gold. The Dutchman has attended the Games, but he will focus on the MTB events, where he will have as his rival Thomas Pidcock, it also goes down on the road. For his part, the Frenchman decided to decline his participation to focus on other goals this season.

Another of the big names that does not appear in the spectacular Tokyo 2020 poster is that of Egan bernal, recent winner of the Giro d’Italia, and who refused to attend the Olympic event to focus on the Tour of Spain. Nor will the feeling of the Tour, Jonas vingegaard or other big stars of the platoon like Superman López or Chris Froome. Among those discarded, they stand out Sonny colbrelli in Italy, Michael Matthews in Australia or Pello Bilbao in Spain, those with this profile could have been great protagonists.

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Valverde, the first medal option for Spain

Alejandro Valverde will be the leader of the Spanish team. Omar Fraile, Ion and Gorka Izagirre and Jesús Herrada, the lieutenants of the Murcian for the clear objective of getting the gold. Although it is true that Valverde has never been good at the Games (he has not even made the top 10 in any of his four participations), the route is like a glove and reminds the one in Innsbruck, where he was proclaimed world champion in 2018. In addition, the ‘Bala’ is the first real medal option for the Spanish delegation in Tokyo 2020.

The selector’s list Pascual Momparler has not been without controversy, by leaving out one of the great cyclists of the moment in our country, such as Pello Bilbao. The decision generated a lot of excitement and even the cyclist himself showed his discontent and disappointment in the middle of the Tour de France. Secondly, Mikel Landa he has not been able to recover in time from his injuries after the fall at the Giro d’Italia and Enric Mas he ruled out his presence to prepare for the next Tour of Spain.

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Where do you televise the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games cycling event?

The event and all the Tokyo Olympics can be seen by TV on Eurosport and online on the Eurosport APP.

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