Shall we assume there will be no repeat of today’s Tour de France stage, in which some negative person sprinkled sharp objects on the road?
Check the previous picks. Away we go …
Men’s road race: The course is tailor-made for Britain’s Mark Cavendish, which is good because Cavendish isn’t having a great Tour de France. He won the test event on the course, though. And he might have some energy left over from the Tour, where Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, Germany’s Andre Greipel, Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert and Australia’s Matthew Goss are wearing themselves out. Cavendish also will have teammates like David Millar, who just won a stage and is in terrific form. Cavendish also has three national teammates who ride with him on Team Sky, including the current top two in the Tour — Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
A few people are missing some or all of the Tour and may be well-rested (or rusty). That group includes Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara, an Olympic medalist who won a Tour stage and then dropped out to be with his very pregnant wife. And Belgium’s Tom Boonen, a perennial Tour power, is skipping the Tour to focus on the Games.
U.S. hopeful Tyler Farrar has had a rough Tour — give him points for continuing — but young teammate Tejay van Garderen looks terrific. The rest of the team: Tour perennial Chris Horner, Timmy Duggan and Taylor Phinney. The latter is a former track cycling world champion. Lance Armstrong’s former teammates pulled their names out of the running for the Games, though most of them are getting up there in years and may not have made the Tour-to-Games turnaround, anyway. Projection was GBR-ITA-BEL; let’s try Britain, Switzerland, Slovakia.
Men’s time trial: Cancellara is the defending champ. Phinney is the designated U.S. time trialist. British oddsmakers seem to think Bradley Wiggins will win it, but that’ll be a tall order after he probably wins the Tour. The top seven at the World Championships: Germany’s Tony Martin, Wiggins, Cancellara, Germany’s Bert Grabsch, two Australians, Millar. We’ll go with Cancellara and then strength in numbers. And that means we’re not changing the projection: Switzerland, Britain, Germany
Women’s road race: The UCI helpfully compiles national rankings, and that helps us in a surprisingly team-oriented event like the road race. The top five: Netherlands, Germany, USA, Italy, Britain. Forget what we said about Dutch rider Marianne Vos going to the track — she won the first two World Cup events this year and dominated the recent Giro d’Italia ahead of Britain’s Emma Pooley and the USA’s Evelyn Stevens. Germany’s Judith Arndt won the Tour of Flanders by two seconds over American vet Kristin “No Relation” Armstrong. The U.S. team is Stevens, Armstrong, sixth-ranked Amber Neben and Shelley Olds. Individual rankings: Vos, Arndt, Sweden’s Emma Johansson. Last year, Britain’s Nicole Cooke seemed like a contender, but she has dropped to 21st in the rankings despite being fairly active. Was GBR-GER-USA; now Netherlands, Germany, Britain
Women’s time trial: 2011 time trial top five: Germany’s Arndt, New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen, Britain’s Pooley, Canada’s Tara Whitten, Canada’s speedskater/cyclist Clara Hughes. American Amber Neben was eighth. She and Armstrong get the call for this one. If you look back at the previous picks, most of these names will look familiar. Was GBR-GER-USA; now Britain, Germany, Canada
The last picks were done right after the 2011 World Championships, but they held another set of World Championships this year. We also have rankings to consider.
Men’s Keirin: Britain’s Chris Hoy — er, Sir Chris Hoy — has Olympic gold from 2008, the world title from 2012 and home-velodrome advantage. Germany’s Maximilian Levy was the runner-up at Worlds and is second in the world rankings. Then it’s France’s Francois Pervis. Projection was GBR-AUS-MAS; now Britain, Germany, France
Men’s sprint: Hoy again is the big guy here, though he finished third at Worlds behind France’s Gregory Bauge and fellow British rider Jason Kenny. Britain can only enter one. (UPDATE: It’s Kenny.) Australia’s Shane Perkins was fourth. The rankings: Germany’s Robert Forstemann, Hoy, Trinidad & Tobago’s Nijsane Nicholas Phillip, Germany’s Stefan Botticher. The USA doesn’t have a large team, but Jimmy Watkins has qualified here. Was GBR-GBR-FRA (which isn’t actually possible); now Britain, Germany, France
Men’s team sprint: World Championships: Australia, France, New Zealand. World rankings: Germany, Australia, Britain, France. We’ll stick with Britain, Germany, France
Men’s team pursuit: This was one event in which we hadn’t picked Britain. Then they set a world record at Worlds to edge Australia. New Zealand took third. Was AUS-RUS-GBR; now Britain, Australia, New Zealand
Men’s omnium: Top three in the rankings: France’s Bryan Coquard, Australia’s Glenn O’Shea, Canada’s Zachary Bell. At Worlds, O’Shea and Bell were 1-2, then Denmark’s Lasse Norman Hansen. Bobby Lea will ride for the USA. Was NZL-AUS-ESP; now Australia, Canada, France
Women’s Keirin: Four riders jump out from the results: top-ranked Simona Krupeckaite (Lithuania), world champion Anna Meares (Australia), world runner-up/second-ranked Ekaterina Gnidenko (Russia), world third place/third-ranked Kristina Vogel (Germany). Was AUS-FRA-GBR; now Australia, Russia, Lithuania
Women’s sprint: Wai Lee is ranked #1. Could Hong Kong medal in this? Britain has a big-time hopeful here in world champion Victoria Pendleton. Krupeckaite and Meares were on the Worlds podium here, just as they were in the Keirin, and they’re in the top three in the rankings. Lee gets most of her points in Asia, so we’re going with the Euros and Aussies here. Was AUS-GBR-BLR; now Britain, Australia, Lithuania
Women’s team sprint: World record for Germany at Worlds, and they needed it to beat Australia. China was third and leads the world rankings ahead of Britain and Germany. Was GBR-AUS-CHN; now Germany, Britain, Australia
Women’s team pursuit: Another world record here — Britain got it to beat the Aussies. Canada took third. Britain leads the rankings ahead of New Zealand, Australia and the USA, which will send all-star Sarah Hammer, Jennie Reed, Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tamayo. Was GBR-NZL-USA; now Britain, New Zealand, Australia
Women’s omnium: The USA’s Sarah Hammer took third at Worlds behind Britain’s Laura Trott and Australia’s Annette Edmondson. China’s Li Huang led the rankings ahead of Trott and Hammer. Was CAN-USA-POL; now Britain, USA, China
Men: U.S. men will send Todd Wells and Samuel Schultz. The top three in the rankings were also the top three at 2011 Worlds: Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Kulhavy, Switzerland’s Nino Schurter, France’s Julien Absalon. That’s close to the original projection as well. Was CZE-FRA-SUI; now Czech Republic, Switzerland, France
Women: Canada’s Catharine Pendrel has the world title and top spot in the rankings. Poland’s Maya Wloszczowska was second at Worlds, third in the rankings. Second in the rankings: 39-year-old Gunn-Rita Dahle Fleshaa of Norway. Americans Georgia Gould and Lea Davison have slipped in the rankings. Was AUT-USA-POL; now Canada, Poland, Italy
Men: The USA leads the national rankings and will send Connor Fields (ranked second), David Herman (fifth) and Nic Long (10th). Australia has the top man in Sam Willoughby and No. 7 Brian Kirkham. France’s Joris Daudet is No. 3. Gold medalist Maris Strombergs of Latvia is sixth. Was LAT-AUS-USA; now USA, Australia, Latvia
Women: The USA is so deep here that Brooke Crain is ranked third in the world but didn’t make the team ahead of No. 4 Arielle Martin and No. 8 Alise Post. France’s Magalie Potter is No. 1. Australia has three of the top six. Was FRA-AUS-NZL; now France, Australia, USA