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Hot wheels as teams compete

25 Mar 06 21:18

New Zealander Greg Henderson will look for a medal in the Men's Road Race.

New Zealander Greg Henderson will look for a medal in the Men's Road Race.

A hot day (forecast maximum of 32 degrees C) is expected to be a factor in the Men's Road Race, where 136 competitors will line up, each keen to experience Games glory.

The cyclists will complete 15 laps of the beautiful but technical Botanical Gardens course (166.95km).

The track weaves through the Gardens, along the Yarra River and some of Melbourne's normally busiest roads in Punt Road and Chapel Street.

As was the case in the Time Trial, England and New Zealand are likely challengers to the strong Australian team, with British national champion Russell Downing leading the English team.

New Zealand's Greg Henderson will be looking for a result after failing to win a track endurance medal at these Games, particularly with the withdrawal of highly fancied compatriot Hayden Rouston due to illness.

Isle of Man’s Mark Cavendish, winner of the Track Scratch Race, could produce a surprise result; as could South Africa's Robert Hunter, a noted world-class sprinter.

The Welsh team is fuelled by young guns Geraint Thomas, who has trialled with the T-Mobile team, and Yanto Barker.

Canadian Dominique Perras has already enjoyed results in Australia after finishing second to Simon Gerrans in the 2005 Herald Sun Tour.

Other quality sprinters include Emile Abraham from Trinidad & Tobago, and Malaysia's Mohd Jasmin Ruslan.

Australia's Stuart O'Grady, who won gold in Manchester, was unable to secure a release from his European-based professional team to ride in Melbourne. The Australian team is also missing Simon Gerrans, who broke his collarbone earlier this year and was ruled out several weeks ago.

Nevertheless, the Australian team looks very strong with Australian Under-23 champion William Walker, plus Ben Day, fresh from his silver medal in the Men's Time Trial, along with Peter Dawson, Allan Davis and Matt Hayman, who will all add depth and control.

Australian senior team official Neil Stephens is not complacent of the challenge ahead. “We’ve got some stiff opposition,” he told a media conference.

"I'm wary of New Zealand, England and Canada, but also can’t rule out a challenge from South Africa," Stephens said. “There’s good individual riders in various teams."

To find out more about the Road Race events, visit the Road Cycling section of this Website.

For more details and results, visit the Cycling Road Race Schedule and Results section of this Website.

Transport icon View transport information for travelling to the Games.

Full details of road closures and how to view the Cycling Road Races can be found by visiting the Traffic and Transport section of this Website. Alternatively, you can call 1300 00 2006.

This Website is closed and for reference purposes only. To guarantee the stability of Games data, all external links are being removed.

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