hornylittlecarebear asked: Do different nations have more riders in the road race? or is it equal for all... GB seem to have 4 but Ireland have 3?
Yep, some countries will have more riders than others. Peter Sagan is the one-man Slovakian team! And Ryder Hesjedal is Canada.
As far as I know, similar to qualification rules for the World Championships, it’s all dependent on UCI ranking points; amassed by individual riders but put towards a collective national count.
The teams that are allowed to run the maximum number of five riders are those that are ranked in the top ten of the UCI WorldTour rankings. It’s a decreasing scale, the ins-and-outs I’m not sure of, for the other UCI categories - Europe, Asia, America, Africa and Oceania Tours.
There are exceptions, for example Luxembourg are ranked in the top ten but only qualify two riders (as only two riders have scored ranking points and do they even have two to go now?).
France has also played a little clever/unwise (delete as applicable!) by using one of their road spot allocations to bring along their track cyclist Mickaël Bourgain. That way they can maximise their track squad but potentially limit their chances on the road.
Germany have also done this by adding the impressively-thighed track sprinter Robert Forstemann into their mountain bike team.
That’s a rough explanation, further clarification always welcome in the comments section. Thank you! :)