Colnago CSF Inox rider Sacha Modolo has warned that the only way to stop Mark Cavendish from winning the gold medal at the London Olympics will have to ride aggressively and distance the British rider on the key climb of Box Hill.
Modolo finished second behind Cavendish in last year’s test event in London and knows the British rider has made the Olympic road race the biggest goal of his 2012 season.
“There’s only one way to beat Cavendish and that’s to make sure the race doesn’t end with a bunch sprint,” Modolo said.
“People have been predicting that the race will definitely end in a sprint but in the Italian team, we’ll be riding aggressively to make sure it doesn’t happen. It’s going to be a very unique race. There are only five riders per team and then climbing Box Hill nine times will play a huge factor in the race. It’s not a hard climb but it is very narrow and so the peloton will be strung out.”
“If we can get rid of Cavendish during the final laps and then the front group rides together all the way to the finish, then we’ve got a chance of fighting for victory.”
Modolo will swap his usual white and blue Colnago C59 Italia bike for a black Colnago C59 for the Olympic road race. Under International Olympic Committee rules, bikes can only carry one logo and so Colnago has produced a special bike for Modolo similar to the Colnago Team Edition bikes used by Thomas Voeckler and Team Europcar at the Tour de France.
Modolo won a stage at the recent Tour of Austria and polished his fitness for London by also riding the Tour of Poland. He will be part of the five-rider Italian team that also includes Marco Pinotti, Elia Viviani, Luca Paolini and Vincenzo Nibali. 2004 Athens Olympic road race winner Paolo Bettini is the national coach for Italy.
“I’m ready to race and I’m willing to follow what ever tactical plan Bettini decides to follow. We know we’ll have to beat riders of the caliber of Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert, Matt Goss of Australia and Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen. But Bettini knows how to win races and win the Olympics. I think it’s going to be a race full of surprises.” Modolo predicted.