Cyclist O'Grady off to sixth Olympics

Stuart O'Grady will go to his sixth Olympics with a vital role to play in Australia winning a gold medal, but with no chance of collecting it himself.

O'Grady will lead Australia's powerful five-man road race cycling team at the London Olympics, but the 38-year-old will ride as a workhorse to help Matt Goss or Simon Gerrans win gold.

O'Grady was named on Monday in his sixth Olympic team, while Cadel Evans and Michael Rogers are off to their fourth Games, Gerrans goes to his second and Goss makes his debut.

With an average age of 32.4, the team is full of experience and success.

But 25-year-old sprint specialist Goss is the best chance of gold if the 250km race comes down to a dash for the finish, while the in-form Gerrans is the big hope if it splits open in the middle.

Even Tour de France champion Cadel Evans will work with Rogers and O'Grady, especially on the hills, to set the race up for Gerrans or Goss, who won silver at last year's world titles.

It's one of the strongest Australian road teams ever selected for an Olympics, with all 12 riders preparing for this week's Tour worthy of a spot.

Richie Porte is probably the unlucky one, but the five selected all deserved their place and give Australia its best chance of its first men's road race Olympic gold medal.

All five will ride the road race, while Rogers and Evans get their chance for a medal in the individual time trial.

"This has been one of the most difficult team selections in Australia's cycling history because we really have enough talent to field two teams of Olympic standard," said Australian professional men's coordinator Matt White.

"The selectors have chosen a team based on our race strategies for London - but we won't be going into detail about what those strategies are for obvious reasons.

"What I can say is that we're definitely in the hunt to challenge for the top step of the podium."

The riders are currently with their professional teams for the Tour de France which starts this weekend in Belgium.

"The riders will come together the day after the Tour to prepare as a team," White said.

"It will just be a matter of maintaining the form they'll have from the three weeks of racing in France."

O'Grady, who won an Olympic gold medal on the track in the madison with Graeme Brown in 2004, will be the first Australian cyclist to compete in six Olympics.

The women's 140km road race presents a tougher challenge for Australia, with three Olympic debutantes - Shara Gillow, Chloe Hosking and Amanda Spratt.

Gillow will contest both the road race and time trial.

"I have high expectations. I love riding time trials and this one is one I would love to win gold for Australia in," Gillow said.

The BMX team was also named on Monday, with world No.1 Sam Willoughby and women's No.2 Caroline Buchanan heading the five-strong team.

Daniel McConnell and Rebecca Henderson were named as Australia's two representatives in mountain bike.

The 14-strong track team was named last month with Monday's selections bringing Australia's total number of cycling representatives in London to 29.