Australian Olympic team chief Nick Green says Australia will land a massive psychological blow on the host nation if Matt Goss, Cadel Evans or one of their teammates can take down gold-medal favourite Mark Cavendish on Saturday.
The men's road race will provide the opening stage for one of the most enduring rivalries in world sport between Australia and Britain and it gains added importance, falling on day one of the London Games.
Cycling is among a handful of key sports where the arch-rivals are ranked in the top few nations in the world, giving them both huge expectations of large medal hauls.
"On day one, the Games are just starting and everyone is slowly building momentum," Green said.
"The cycling team is a world-class team .. we have a very good chance of winning the gold or medalling.
"I know the Australians have been working on their tactics for quite some time.
"As a psychological blow, it would be great to have it."
A day before the opening ceremony, Green repeated his claim that a top-five finish on the medals table remained the over-riding aim for Australia.
"What's going to unfold, which potentially has the capacity to determine how Great Britain or Australia finish on the medals table, is going to come down to a couple of sports where they are the respective No.1 and No.2 at a sport or discipline - sailing is one of them, track cycling, rowing is another one.
"The medal tally possibly will go either way as a result of that.
"(But) we will win medals we don't expect and that's part of what the Olympic Games is.
"The enormity of the occasion sometimes drives athletes to do something quite spectacular and that's what is so exciting about these Games."
British Olympic Association head Colin Moynihan also bought into one of world sport's most enduring stoushes on Thursday.
"There is always healthy competition between our two countries when it comes to sport and that's been the case throughout my life, for generations before me and for generations to come," Moynihan said.
"We have huge respect for the Australian team that's come over here.
"They will be a really significant challenge to us in the medal table, so we don't under-estimate Australia at all.
"... The British team are the best prepared team we've ever taken to a Games.
"They are absolutely ready to give it their best and I anticipate that there will be a whole plethora of personal bests coming from those athletes during the Games.
"If they do that, then the medals will follow."
Australian Sports Minister Kate Lundy has a bet going with her British counterpart Hugh Robertson.
If Australia wins more gold medals at the 2012 Games, Robertson will be required to dribble a hockey ball around Australia House on the Strand wearing a Kookaburras top.
But if the Brits emerge triumphant, Lundy will have to don a Union Jack jersey and row a length of the Olympic course at Eton Dorney.