2012 London Olympics: Bicycling Events Guide [Bicycling]

Photo: Garmin-Sharp’s Tyler Farrar is considered America’s top sprinter. (Dirk Waem/AFP/Getty)

Men’s Road Race – July 28

Speedsters such as reigning world champion Mark CavendishAndrĂ© GreipelPeter Sagan, andTyler Farrar hope the race stays together for an all-out bunch sprint at the end of this 155-mile affair that starts and finishes on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. But in between is an arduous out-and-back loop that includes nine trips up the short but tough Box Hill climb. That ascent could serve as an ideal launching pad for one-day specialists such as Philippe Gilbert of Belgium, Sagan, Swiss star Fabian Cancellera, or even American veteran Chris Horner, who received his first Olympic berth. Cavendish took a sprint win at last year’s Olympic test event, but that race included just two trips up Box Hill. “More teams will want to obliterate the race than keep it together for a field sprint,” says Christian Vande Velde, who raced for the U.S. in Beijing. “If there is a sprint, it may be just 20 to 30 guys instead of the whole peloton.”

Americans to Watch: Farrar, Horner, Taylor Phinney, Tim Duggan, Tejay van Garderen