Chris Froome is unconcerned about recovering from the brutal road race on Saturday for his tilt at gold in the time trial, while Geraint Thomas waits to hear whether he will be able to take part on Wednesday as a late addition.
The Tour de France winner, who eventually finished 12th following a dramatic and incident-packed road race, said that his experience in London four years ago – when he won bronze in the time trial behind Bradley Wiggins – gave him reassurance.
“I buried myself in London four years ago as well. I was completely spent. And I was fine in the time trial a few days later. It should be enough time to recover,” Froome said.
He could yet be joined in the time trial by Thomas, who crashed on the final descent in a medal-winning position in the road race but still finished as the best-placed British rider in 11th.
There is a chance that Thomas could yet get the chance to try again for a medal in the time trial, if other nations do not take up their places. The Welsh rider said he had delayed his holidays in the hope of getting a place.
“It was a seriously full-on race. Quite a few people have complained how dangerous it was but it was exciting. No one would have predicted that podium,” Froome said of the road race, which was won by Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet in a sprint finish following a series of crashes.
“I felt good. We always knew the race was going to be a bit of a lottery. I wasn’t coming in thinking I was guaranteed a medal or anything,” Froome said. “I thought the guys all rode well. I certainly didn’t leave anything out there.”
For his Team Sky team-mate Thomas, the prospect of a surprise time-trial spot could give him an opportunity to quell the disappointment of missing out on a medal from a promising position.
“A lot of races, like the Tour and things, you’re there to ride for somebody else. This was an opportunity to try and take it and do well in it, and obviously this didn’t happen and that was a big disappointment,” Thomas said.
“We’d put all that hard work in, the six hours before to be in the race and in the right position, and then to lose it on a tiny mistake at the end.”
For Froome, who could not close the gap with the leading group on the final climb, there was “no doubt” that Thomas had been in a potential medal-winning position.
Froome, who starts the time trial as one of the favourites, said Team Sky’s head of athlete performance, Tim Kerrison, was due to arrive in Rio on Sunday night. “We will head out there tomorrow and have a look at it and come up with a plan; a pacing strategy,” Froome said.
“It is something we have done a lot of work on and it worked really well at the Tour this year. Ideally we will be able to replicate what we did at the Tour, although it’s a very different type of effort.”
Froome picked out the Dutch rider Tom Dumoulin, the Swiss Fabio Cancellara, Germany’s Tony Martin, Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus and the Australian Rohan Dennis as his main rivals on the 60km course.
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