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  • Patrick Murphy

    Great race, pretty much a carbon copy of the mens, but in my eyes Borghini blew it, what an earth was she thinking staying on the front for so long? The catch was made (or going to be made), she must have done 3km’s on the front herself, big mistake that left her nothing for the sprint.

    Please note, I backed Borghini for the win. :)

    • Rodrigo Diaz

      I Disagree – Borghini can’t be happy about her chances of outsprinting Johansson or Van der Breggen on the flat. So you muck around in the chase, skip your turns and fail to catch Abbot, then there’s three riders sprinting for two medals (none gold)- and you’re the weakest sprinter. It’s not like they caught Abbot with a km to spare. Muck around even more and get caught by the larger group behind, with even more strong sprinters (Armitstead).

      Plan B: you turn yourself inside out to catch the rider in front (a smaller climber cooked from a long breakaway), concede any chance of beating the two faster finishers but ahead of the rider now in front. Now you have a good chance at a medal.

      If it was Armstrong or a relatively surprising rider like Oliveira who is an unknown quality maybe you may take your chances. As it was I think she made a cool, correct decision. I was actually surprised so many non-climbers in both races made it to the pointy end of things.

      • Patrick Murphy

        I think you make some fair points, however, whilst the work needed to be done to make the catch it always looked like it was going to be done, I think she could (should) have done less of a turn, she was on the front for an eternity.

  • Robert Merkel

    Talking point 6: equipment choice.

    Would Mara Abbott have won on if she’d chosen an aero bike, an aero helmet, and 404s instead of the round-tube Conalgo, conventional helmet and shallow-section wheels she was riding on?

    • Anne-Marije Rook

      Would she have gotten up the climbs as fast on aero gear?

    • Eden Walker

      I would take your point but Mara isn’t the best descender in the peloton also having a stiffer bike puts you at risk of getting wheel chatter in the corners going down hill and they’re a buggar to lug up hill, you also have to think that Aero helmets don’t have the ventilation to ride in that heat for that long, I think you also have to consider the mens race and cross winds, putting deep wheels on a bike when you’re so light can be a nightmare, I weight 69kg and on a side wind if it’s gusty it isn’t great. Abbott must weigh something like 50-54kg.

      • Dave

        The issue of the deeper section wheels needs to be left aside, most of the riders had fairly shallow wheels according to the wind conditions on the day.

        Using an aero frame would depend on what frames she was offered by her team supplier, and whether she was comfortable riding one. All the riders with Scott bikes were on the Foil aero bike, but that bike is light enough for climbing and does handle pretty well (it won Paris-Roubaix!) and is more of an all-rounder’s bike than a full sprinter’s aero bike.

        There are modern aero helmets which do provide full ventilation, she could have picked one if the suppliers of Wiggle-High5 and the US National Teams had them available.

    • Andy B

      She looks like she needs a bike fit, frame looks too big and seat looks a touch high
      but hey.. it seems to work well for her

      • Anne-Marije Rook

        Can we all please remember that these athletes are some of the best cyclists in the world. As such, they have some of the best services and gear available to them. They are professionals and will have had many a bike fit.

        • Dave

          It’s the case in many sports that those at the top often have an unconventional technique which would not be found in ‘the textbook.’

          The possibility that her bike had not been set up correctly in Rio must be considered though, it’s unfortunately common with national teams.

    • Robert Merkel

      A few followup observations:

      * not for a moment claiming that Anna van der Breggen was anything but a worthy winner. That was one boss ride (as, in fact, were the other medallists, Abbott and others besides).
      * van der Breggen was on an aero bike (I think) and seemed to be wearing a skinsuit; Emma Johansson had an aero helmet.
      * having ridden on a Specialized Prevail in hot conditions, the ventilation was fine everywhere but on a steep climb, so fair point.
      * You can easily get a modern aero bike down to 6.8 kg, particularly in small and extra small.
      * Point taken about crosswinds and the nervous handling of some aero bikes.

      • Eden Walker

        Sorry Robert, i own a prevail and i wouldn’t call it an aero helmet, and the bike isn’t just about the weight it’s about the stiffness, it’s about the cobble section. I avoid cobbles when i’m riding my Amira on 700-25s and a stiff TT frame forget about it, i should say that I’m as far removed from pro cyclist as you can get so i think that might have something to do with my cobble problem.


        • Robert Merkel

          Sorry…I meant the Evade, Specialized’s aero road helmet.

          Wouldn’t like to have to race my aero bike on cobbles…but I don’t like riding my other bike on the cobbles much either :)


    • exemplary1

      Not on that descent.

    • Legstrong

      She’s the Chris Horner of women’s peloton. Look at her handlebar. It is several cm too wide. Then, like another commenter had pointed out, her bike fit seemed off.

      However, I think she must learn how to descend. Her line choices were awful. An aero bike would benefit her for sure but it’s rare to see a pure climber on one of those. That’s why it is important for any climber to be a good descender… Don’t be like Pinot…

      • Dave

        I commend her for being brave enough to know her limits and ride accordingly (unlike those who overcooked it in both races) but do agree she needs to work on her skills.

        I have to defend Pinot a bit though. His skills aren’t too bad, the problems are all in his head after a horrific crash that a close friend of his had when they were riding together as a junior. That’s why they sent him off to drive touring cars and formula cars at a racing school to get him over his fear of going towards a corner at high speeds, rather than into the mountains with another cyclist as his coach.

        • Legstrong

          Fair enough… I still don’t like him. ;)

          Especially after that Di2 drama in the last year Tour. Whined too much.

          • Dave

            Yep, he’s a tosser.

            But give him credit, that hissy fit was one of the few memorable events of what was an utterly forgettable Tour.

    • Dave


      The theoretical possibility of saving a few seconds would be outweighed by the penalty of the rider having to use equipment that they are not comfortable with.

      Some coaching is what will make the biggest difference there.

  • I’m glad for CT’s Olympic coverage, b/c getting to see highlights is quite troublesome. That’s the profit-driven Olympic spirit!
    But there does seems to be a CT conspiracy to turn ‘descend’ into a noun – more noticeable because the road races have been so affected by the descent. Can we please keep descend as a verb?

    • Jenniferehager

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    • Jessicadrichardson1

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