Operation Beijing begins for Team Barloworld
As the hours before the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games become fewer and fewer, it is almost time for five riders from Team Barloworld to go on medal hunt in China in both the road race and track disciplines.
Robert Hunter and John-Lee Augustyn for South Africa, Austria’s Christian Pfannberger and Great Britain’s Steve Cummings lead the way. They will all ride in Saturday’s men’s road race on the tough 250 km course near the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China north of Beijing.
The expected hot weather, high humidity and smog are expected to play a key in who wins the gold medal. However all of Claudio Corti’s riders are on form and as Pfannberger predicts, “with a bit of luck anything can happen…”
On Wednesday, August 13, Steve Cummings will again be in action in the men’s individual time trial. After his excellent final time trial at the Giro d’Italia and his second place in the time trial stage and second overall at the Tour of Denmark, Cummings could do well in Bejing and cause a major surprise.
Team Barloworld will also be represented on the track in Beijing after Geraint Thomas was selected for the Great Britain Olympic team for the team pursuit event. Thomas became world champion in the 4000m team discipline in March and helped set a new world record of 3-56. He will obviously be going for another win and set a new world record in the futuristic Laishan velodrome starting from Friday August 15.
Thomas will be one of the key riders in the team pursuit and his speed and power will be vital if Great Britain are to defeat other strong nations such as Denmark, Australia, and New Zealand. The British Cycling Federation has worked hard in recent years and has, according to Team Barloworld management, always had the full support of Barloworld team manager Claudio Corti and the team’s staff. Thomas could reward them with a gold medal in the team pursuit. He's a reserve for the Madison event at the 2008 Olympics in China.