On paper Great Britain has no one capable of winning a medal in the men?s road events on the mountainous courses in Beijing.

The drop-out rate in the road race will be very high so if Britain had two finishers it would be considered a good result.

So in picking the team the balance must be struck between rewarding the best road riders and nurturing up-and-coming talent by giving them experience.

With talk of a British trade team approaching sooner rather than later, the lack of viable riders for the men?s events on the road in such a mountainous course in Beijing is a concern.

Every reader could pick the Great Britain track squad for Beijing and probably come out within a name or two of being spot on. And the women’s road team is looking like being Nicole Cooke, Emma Pooley and Sharon Laws for the three road race spots and two time trial places.

But the men’s team offers a several problems ? not least the lack of out-and-out climbers.

Britain has four places in the men’s road race and one in the time trial. Cycling Weekly assesses the riders who could go to Beijing and weighs up the options in front of the selection committee.

IN THE FRAME

Roger Hammond
Age 34
Was seventh in the Olympic road race in Athens four years ago but this course is a different kettle of chicken?s feet. It?s not a climb to suit Hammond but, as Britain?s most experienced road rider, if he wants to go, he?s likely to be offered a place.

Steve Cummings
Age 27
Cummings is on the long list for the team pursuit but British Cycling could feasibly pick him for the road race and time trial and then draft him into the track squad in case of emergency. He?s so versatile he must be an appealing option. And his Giro time trial result has caught the attention.

Dan Lloyd
Age 27
Impressed with a great performance at the Tour of Qinghai Lake, a mountainous stage race in China, last year. Can cope with the terrain, and showed well at the Tour of Belgium last week, very much in the thoughts of the selectors.

Ben Swift
Age 20
British Cycling want to offer some of the stars of tomorrow a glimpse of the big-time and the promising climber Swift could benefit from that policy. The Olympics falls between the two big objectives ? July?s European Under-23 Championships and the Worlds in late September ? so it is logistically possible.
See separate story: Rod Ellingworth on Ben Swift?s win at the Coppa della Pace

WILL GO, IF KENYA AGREES

Chris Froome
Age 23
Could fill both the road and time trial slots ? if the Kenyans have a change of heart.
See separate story: Kenyans attempt to block Froome?s Olympic dreams

ON THE LONG LIST

Jonny Bellis
Age 19
Won a bronze medal in the under-23 road race at last year?s World Championships.

Dan Fleeman
Age 25
Is on the fringes of the Olympic picture after some solid rides for the Irish An Post squad, where Dan Lloyd is one of his team-mates.

SOME MAKING UP TO DO

Charly Wegelius
Age 30
The best British climber in the pro ranks, Wegelius now has bags of experience of getting through the big tours. However, he?s still blacklisted because of his decision to defy team orders at the 2005 world championship road race in Madrid. Hammond was an outside medal hope but Wegelius and Tom Southam chased an early break for several laps despite it being against the GB team game plan. It was alleged they were working for the Italians. At the time Dave Brailsford said they?d never ride for Britain again. Since then, Southam has been offered a place in the British Cycling-run Halfords Bikehut team. There is a school of thought that it would be unprofessional of BC to skate over Wegelius when he?s one of the few riders capable of handling the Beijing course. However, there is some making up to do and another factor to consider is his racing programme between now and the Games. As it stands, Wegelius? name is not on the short list but he will have to be considered.

UNLIKELY

Jeremy Hunt
Age 34
The course is not to his liking. But there is a wider issue. He was selected for the 2004 Games in Athens but failed to show up.

Ian Stannard
Age 21
Stannard has impressed British Cycling enormously in his first season as a professional and he will become an invaluable part of Mark Cavendish?s lead-out train in future World Championships and at the London Olympics. However, Beijing is too mountainous and BC are cautious not to give him an experience that could scar him.

DOMESTIC CHALLENGE

It is not thought that any of the riders currently racing in Britain are likely to go to Beijing. Ben Greenwood had been thought of but he?s still on the road back from injury and has a lot of ground to make up. The selectors? minds may be altered if someone like Russell Downing were to win the National Championship. That would give them a decision to make.

CONCENTRATING ON THE TRACK

Mark Cavendish
Age 23
Cavendish will ride the Madison, which is at the end of the block of track racing. There?s no point putting him through the road race when he has no chance of winning. His chance will come in London.

Bradley Wiggins
Age 28
With three genuine gold medal chances on the track (individual pursuit, team pursuit, Madison) there is no way Wiggins will ride the road race or time trial.

Geraint Thomas
Age 22
An integral part of the team pursuit squad, extremely unlikely to be pressed into action on the road.

Ed Clancy
Age 23
Will ride the team pursuit, not the road.

Paul Manning
Age 34
Team pursuit engine, won?t figure on the road.

INELIGIBLE

David Millar
Age 31
Has the experience and endurance to survive the road race and do a reasonable time trial but Millar is barred because of the British Olympic Association rule that states athletes that have been suspended for doping cannot represent Britain at the Games. The runner Dwain Chambers is in the process of appealing the BOA bylaw and Millar is watching closely as it may pave the way to him competing in London in four years? time.