Cyclosport.org PREVIEW: Cycling World Championships 2010
by Adam Tranter
Words by Chris Alfred
Next week sees the World Road Race Championships take place in Australia for the first time in the history of the event.
Too often the focus at the Worlds is solely on the men's road race and other races are often ignored. However thwe whole week should see some great racing and perhaps, some opportunities for British Medals.Â Wednesday sees the Under 23 time trial where Britain's Alex Dowsett is favourite alongside his Trek-Livestrong team mate and US Time Trial Champion, Taylor Phinney.Â In the recent Tour L'Avenir only 6 seconds separated the two riders. On Wednesday afternoon it's the Women's Time TrialÂ and the Brits again have strong medal hopes with national Champion Emma Pooley one of the strong favourites.
Taylor Phinney (USA)
Thursday is a quieter day with only the Men's Time Trial taking place. This will see Fabien Cancellara and Tony Martin battle it out for the gold medal. Cancellara beat Martin in both of the Time Trials at the Tour de France but the gap between them is not as large as it once was and Cancellara was recently beaten into 3rd spot in the Time Trial at the Vuelta a EspaÂ±a.Â David Millar is riding for Great Britain and my bet is that he'll be looking for the bronze medal along with riders such as Richie Porte of Australia and Gustav Larsson of Sweden.
Friday is the first of the road races with the under 23 men taking on a 159km route. This race has a strong history with Ivan Basso, Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Gerald Ciolek among the list of past winners. Whoever wins this race will definitely be one to watch for the future. On Saturday the Women's Road Race takes place. Emma Pooley, Nicole Cooke and Lizzie Armistead are all capable of winning the race in perhaps Britain strongest ever cycling team that boasts the talented rides such as Sharon Laws and Emma Trott in its ranks as well.Â Furthermore the race is a rare occasion to see the great spectacle of Women's racing live on television as too often Women's race coverage is poor.
Emma Pooley (Great Britain)
Then late Sunday night (UK Time) is the elite men's road race. Ever since the route from Melbourne to Geelong was announced there have been debates and discussions all over the internet about what type of rider the course is suited to. In reality nobody really knows how the race will unfold which is a credit to the event organisers for devising such an interesting route.Â Some argue that it will lead to mass field sprint but many more highlight how tough the two climbs on the finishing circuit are and therefore predict either a group of 30 contesting a sprint or a smaller group or solo rider attacking on one of the climbs and taking the win.
Cadel Evans, the current holder of the rainbow jersey
Tactics, team dynamics and politics will all play a key role in the race. The worlds are unique races as riders shed their trade team jerseys and don their national jerseys. This makes the dynamics of the peloton even more interesting and complex. For example, Britain only has three riders with a team focused around Mark Cavendish and will want to keep the race together till the end but with three riders this will be difficult. But he may be able to rely on the support of his HTC-Columbia team mates who are riding in small teams such as Kanstantsin Sivtsov of Belarus, which is a bit naughty, but completely plausible.
When trying to pick a winner of the road race championships the first thing to consider is their recent form. In recent years there has been an emerging pattern that the winners of the race have all competed in the final grand tour of the season, the Vuelta a EspaÂ±a, to fine tune their form and get the high level of fitness that grand tour racing brings. The top seven riders according to the bookies (Gilbert, Cavendish, Freire, Farrar, Pozzato, Hushovd and Goss) all rode the Vuelta. Despite all the strong cases for these riders, we at Cyclosport are going for some left field candidates for the race which are all good value punts for an each way bet (Top 3 Place):
1.Â Allan Davis (Australia)Â 50/1 William Hill
At the Vuelta he put in some very strong performances on the toughest climbing stages which shows that he has the form and ability are where they need to be for the tough route. Furthermore his sprinting is still strong enough to finish 3rd behind Farrar and Cavendish on the final stage of the Vuelta.
2.Â Matti Breschel (Denmark) 33/1 Bet 365, Stan James and William Hill
This is a rider who is suited to the long route of the worlds as evidenced by his bronze medal in the 2008 edition and a 7th place in last year's edition.Â His sprinting is not shabby either as shown by his 8th place in the final stage of the Tour de France this year on the Champs-Elysees. If he gets away in a small group near the end of the race then you would back him winning the sprint.
3.Â Giovanni Visconti (Italy) 33/1 Sky Bet and Eurosport Bet
Not a familiar name to the casual cycling fan due to the face that he races for the Pro-Continental team: ISD-NERI.Â But the double Italian champion is a strong candidate due to his ability to wins sprints in races that have a large amount of climbing in them. Another thing in his favour is the makeup of the Italian team which does not have an out and out sprinter like Bennati in it. Visconti is like to share the leadership of the team with Pozzato who has had a poor season riddled with injury.
Odds correct at time of publication (24/09/2010)
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