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Tour's over folks. Next! Get 'em while they're fresh.

Here's mine. Paolo Bettini.

Yes you read that right. He is going to deliver. Gold shoes and olive wreaths for this Roman God.

Did you know that in ancient Rome, "Bettini" was an expletive meaning "damn that guy's fast"
 

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I've not seen a course profile, so it's hard to say. If it's like the 2004 race, and if Valverde wants it, then I can't see Bettini stopping him. They are such similar riders style wise, and Valv is 6 or 7 years younger.
 

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from about.com

Profile of the Olympic Road Bike Race Course
By David Fiedler, About.com

Riders pass Tiananmen Square during the Olympic Men's Road Race test event in August 2007.
Feng Li/Getty ImagesSponsored Links

Remember the brutal conditions for the bicycle road race at the Athens Olympics in 2004? Searing heat had competitors dropping like flies as the riders wound their way through Athens for over five and a half hours. But current opinion from teams who have scoped the course that riders will face Beijing this summerat the 2008 Summer Olympic Games is that the Beijing route will make Athens seem like a cakewalk, as it is widely considered one of the most challenging in Olympic history.

The course starts at Yongdingmen Gate near the Forbidden City and then heads through Beijing to the Great Wall of China. During the first, flat 80km, racers pass the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Yonghegong Palace, and Temple of Earth Park. Near the Great Wall, racers enter the circuit segment of the course, and this is where the serious hills begin. Male riders are slated to complete seven laps of a 24km circuit that climbs 520m per lap. Following completion of the circuit, the race ends in Juyongguan at the Great Wall.

Comparable to a mountain stage of the Tour de France, the Beijing course will favor climbers much more than sprinters, and the continual up-and-down of the circuit phase of the race is where the medalists will be made.

"It goes up, goes up some more and comes down then you go up again," said Australian Cadel Evans (second in the 2007 Tour de France, and an early medalist favorite) after the race. "It's ten kilometres of climbing with some steep sections in it and not much recovery and then one big long downhill but even then it was a headwind all the way down and not so easy."

The distance and hilliness of the course, coupled with Beijing's dirty air and heavy summertime humidity, will make this a race of attrition as much as anything

===========

On an unrelated note, do these guys freak you out like they do me?
 

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Creakyknees said:
from about.com

Profile of the Olympic Road Bike Race Course
By David Fiedler, About.com

Riders pass Tiananmen Square during the Olympic Men's Road Race test event in August 2007.
Feng Li/Getty ImagesSponsored Links

Remember the brutal conditions for the bicycle road race at the Athens Olympics in 2004? Searing heat had competitors dropping like flies as the riders wound their way through Athens for over five and a half hours. But current opinion from teams who have scoped the course that riders will face Beijing this summerat the 2008 Summer Olympic Games is that the Beijing route will make Athens seem like a cakewalk, as it is widely considered one of the most challenging in Olympic history.

The course starts at Yongdingmen Gate near the Forbidden City and then heads through Beijing to the Great Wall of China. During the first, flat 80km, racers pass the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Yonghegong Palace, and Temple of Earth Park. Near the Great Wall, racers enter the circuit segment of the course, and this is where the serious hills begin. Male riders are slated to complete seven laps of a 24km circuit that climbs 520m per lap. Following completion of the circuit, the race ends in Juyongguan at the Great Wall.

Comparable to a mountain stage of the Tour de France, the Beijing course will favor climbers much more than sprinters, and the continual up-and-down of the circuit phase of the race is where the medalists will be made.

"It goes up, goes up some more and comes down then you go up again," said Australian Cadel Evans (second in the 2007 Tour de France, and an early medalist favorite) after the race. "It's ten kilometres of climbing with some steep sections in it and not much recovery and then one big long downhill but even then it was a headwind all the way down and not so easy."

The distance and hilliness of the course, coupled with Beijing's dirty air and heavy summertime humidity, will make this a race of attrition as much as anything

=
Ok, so a hilly classic, like say Liege Bastogne Liege. Yea, Valverde in a romp.
 

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Devolder.
 

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moabbiker said:
I'll go with Freire. He's proven this tour that he's really a climber in disguise. In the best shape he's ever been and will have the motivation to knock out another win.
That would be cool, but I'd rather see him take his 4th WC. This course sounds a bit too hard though. 520m climb is pretty stout, and doing it 7 times, with each time getting presumably faster as attacks and chases go... I'm not sure Freire can respond that many times on those climbs. It's definitely a Bettini / Valverde / Cunego / Frank Schleck type of race. Think guys who do well in Amstel, LBL.
 

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Here is a link to the profile on Cyclingnews http://www.cyclingnews.com/road/2008/olympics08/?id=stages/road_race

If I'm reading it right, it looks like a steady climb of about 400M of climbing over <10K on each lap. A short second peak before the descent. And a slight uphill finish.

You have to like Bettini for this profile. Valverde, too, if he's on. The challenge for them is that it's a pretty tough climb, done seven times, so...

I think you have to look at climbers. Contador is downplaying his chances, but why not him?

The American team, Leipheimer, Hincapie, Zabriskie, McCartney, Vande Velde, would seem to have fighter's chance, IMO. Those guys can all climb at pace for a long time. It seems like they could hold together as well as any team, right to the end. Of course, it begs the question as to who would ride for whom. Who is the DS for the US team?

JSR
 

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Cunego

Cunego. He had a horrible TdF and has a lot to prove -- the perennial come-back kid will do it again. The course suits him and the Squadra Azzure will be built around him. I picked him as the winner for Amstel Gold and he will come through again.
 
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