ITT World Championships Preview
Here is the profile of the race that will dictate the world champion, and just look at the lenght! 54 kilometers, it's a long TT, over an hour of effort, a PROPER TT for the specialists. At first sight it's obvious, this TT is not flat, definetely a hilly route, in fact there's around 550 meters of climbing, that is a lot and will definetely be felt, and although there's no real climb there's lots of small pitches that may be felt, but to balance out there will be also descending roads that will favour the powerhouses.
The roads are mainly wide, almost entirely two-lane roads and there aren't many turns that willl break the rhythm of the riders. So again, it's not really a route that favours anyone, it's all about the legs and the form.
The start is very fast, that's very clear. But around the 15Km mark it turns into backcountry rolling roads, a lot of climbing and descending, but as I said it balances out. With the exception of that 700-meter climb at 7% with a hard ramp at first there's no breaks of rhythm, those climbs can all be powered through and the descending sections can do for either recovering, powering through, and also enter the climbs with high speed.
The wind luckily won't play a part, and however not as strong we've seen how the rain has been affecting the time-trials. Things should be better tomorrow but it's not impossible to see similar scenarios.
The first rider to mention is Rohan Dennis, he is all over the place. When I saw a picture of him in a BMC recently it felt right, that's the team where he developed and became the rider he is today, and that bike is something that's been connected to him for a long time. His staying in Bahrain has been just horrible, not that results haven't missed completely, but his time-trialing, and above all his relationship with the team have rotten and he won't even be racing with his team equipment. He hasn't raced since the Tour but he's coming to defend his title, only question is the form he may carry. Fro Australia there's also the rider that beat him in January Luke Durbridge as an outsider. From the riders that haven't raced in a big while there's Victor Campenaerts, since June out of road action, together with Yves Lampaert and Remco Evenepoel, the European champion, they will be looking to bring gold back to Belgium and they have solid chances of doing so. On that list there's also to note the Brits, John Archibald more precisely, will love to see him ride within the best, he was second in the UK NC behind Alex Dowsett who is also here, and furthermore Ryan Mullen who also hasn't ridden since June.
Ok those coming in flying form, Stefan Kung! He may struggle with the distance, but he's had a strong season and won Tour du Doubs and the Slovakia time-trial recently. The Italians, they were in scary strong display in BinckBank where Filippo Ganna won and Edoardo Affini was second, and Affini later won the Tour of Britain ITT, he's one of the revelations of the season and will be in his best for sure to have his first tilt at the Elite ITT. Primoz Roglic, just won the Vuelta and was in brutal form till the very end, he's won four time-trials this season, that would be enough by itself, but he does look to have the form, and he won't be Slovenia's only option as Jan Tratnik who won a prologue in Romandie will also be looking for a good result.
There's Kasper Asgreen, there's no limit on what he can do, he can either win or be outside the Top10 and none would be a real surprise, he's still very young but he's got what it takes, after all he was second in the European championships, the Dutch come with Jos van Emden and Dylan van Baarle coming in with good expectations, van Emden is the only rider in the race with a title already obtained Sunday in the Mixed Relay. Coming from the Vuelta there's Nelson Oliveira coming in, Lawson Craddock and Vasil Kiryienka, all proper outsiders. Also Tony Martin but he's coming after a big crash and his time-trialing hasn't been the same at an individual level so it'll be interesting to see how well he can go. Lastly Patrick Bevin was also at the Vuelta but dropped out in order to prepare for the worlds.
Finally there's another wave of outsiders, Bob Jungels and Maciej Bodnar perhaps more into the idea of finishing up high in the standings, however riders like Jonathan Castroviejo, Chad Haga, Nils Pollit and Martin Toft Madsen can all make a big performance and finish well inside the Top10.
⭐ Lampaert, Bevin, Oliveira, Bodnar, Jungels, Craddock, Jungels, van Baarle
My call is for Stefan Kung, it's about time. He isn't the only one, but his run-up to the Worlds has been perfect and he's been flying. He isn't the best of specialists in long time-trials, but I think the very rolling route will favour him.
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