Host City: Roma, Italy
Venue(s): Pacific Ocean Lane, Roma
Date Started: August 26, 1960
Date Finished: August 26, 1960
Format: Four-man teams.
In 1960 the team road race, a passive event consisting of adding up the times or placements for a nation’s riders in the individual road race, was eliminated in favor of a team time trial. The event was run along the Viale Oceano Pacifico, with 32 teams racing the three laps over a 33.33 km. course from Roma to Ostia and back. This event began the 1960 Olympic cycling program. Although it started at 0900, the day was hot, with temperatures reaching 34° C. (93° F.). Italy dominated the race, winning by over two minutes from Germany, which had all East German riders. Italy was led by the eventual runner-up in the individual road race, Livio Trapè, while the GDR team was led by Gustav-Adolf Schur, who had been world amateur road champion in 1958-59. The Soviet Union won the bronze medal, led by Viktor Kapitonov, who would outsprint Trapè to win the road race gold medal.
Unfortunately, the story of the race was the death of the first Olympian in competition since the 1912 Olympics, when Portugal’s Francisco Lázaro died during the marathon. The Danish team was in mid-race when one of the riders, Knut Enemark Jensen, began to ride erratically. He had difficulty keeping on the wheel of his teammates and finally, after several minutes of this problem, collapsed off his bike. He was taken to hospital and died a few hours later. The official verdict was initially given as a victim of sunstroke (heat stroke), although other reports mention that he had sustained a fractured skull during his fall. But subsequent drug tests found that he had in his system the stimulant Ronicol. Jensen’s death, along with the later death of Tom Simpson in the 1967 Tour de France, were two of the high-publicity factors that pushed the International Olympic Committee to institute drug testing at the 1968 Olympics.