Olympic cyclists expressed mixed feelings about Rio de Janeiro´s mountainous race course as the test event for next year´s Games was given the whistle early on 16 August.
A spectacular sunrise set the backdrop for an agitated day along Copacabana beach, with many gathered to watch cyclists tackle Rio´s notoriously windy roads cut over, around and through the mountains. For Japanese cyclist Kohea Uthima who was competing in the International Road Cycling Challenge, which doubled as the Rio 2016 test, the course is not suitable for the Olympic competition.
"I think mountains road is no good. Organisers need make again," he said.
The condition of the roads caused some concern at the triathlon test event at the start of the month. Athletes commented after the race that potholes and uneven manhole covers on part of the newly-asphalted course caused a few hair-raising moments. French cyclist Antoine Garopa said the event helped prepare the riders for next year.
"It's a hard race and it's always good to ride on the circuit for next year but for sure this year is already out. We have two really hard climbs in the final laps. Also the race with the cobblestone, the climb, the wind, for sure is good to know the circuit for next year," he said.
The timing of the test event was brought forward in order not to clash with anti-government protests taking place by the beach later in the morning.