The 76th World Championships UCI Road World Championships are set to start Wednesday 23 September in Mendrisio, Switzerland. Over the next 5 days (4 days of racing), U23 and Elite men and women will compete in the time trial and the road race for the right to wear the rainbow stripes for the next year.
|Wednesday, September 23||09:30 – 12:45||00:30am – 03:45am||Men U23 TT (33.2 km)|
|Wednesday, September 23||14:00 – 17:15||05:00am – 08:15am||Women TT (26.8 km)|
|Thursday, September 24||11:30 – 17:00||02:30am – 08:00am||Men Elite TT (49.8 km)|
|Saturday, September 26||09:00 – 12:30||00:30am – 03:30am||Women Road Race (124.2 km)|
|Saturday, September 26||13:30 – 18:00||04:30am – 09:00am||Men U23 Road Race (179.4 km)|
|Sunday, September 27||10:30 – 17:30||01:30am – 08:30am||Men Elite Road Race (262.2 km)|
With two climbs at less than 4km from each other on each 13.8 km (8.6 mi) circuit, the road race is touted by the organizers to be one of the hardest and most selective course, after Sallanches in 1964 and Duitama in 1995, since the Second World War.
The first bump hits right in the first 2 km of the 13.8 km (8.6 mi) circuit, a 500 meter kicker with a 12% grade. The riders then continue to climb on the road up Monte Generoso – a small climb in itself but it will sap the legs after being repeated time and time again on each lap. No time to rest as the top of the climb brings a 500 meter false flat followed by a tortuous descent. The peloton should be single-file down the 4.5km technical descent between Acqua Fresca and Torrazza de Novazzana.
No chance to rest after the descent, as the final climb starts at less than 4km from the finish. The same climb which witnessed the duel between Felice Gimondi and Eddy Merckx in the 1971 World Championship, but this time, it is much closer to the finish line. After the 1700 meter climb – with gradients of 10% – to Novazzana, the riders have around 2.5 km to the finish line, this last climb should a perfect place to launch an attack.
Will the battle be between the Spanish and Italian contingent as many expect or will an outsider take advantage of the tough course? The American and Canadian Elite men contingents come in as outsiders and are hoping to play off the battle. Unfortunately, for the USA, Jeff Louder is a late scratch as he was just diagnosed with the H1N1 virus.
The time trial course however does not provide any surprises, as it well suited for the domain experts. The 16.6 km (10.3 mi) circuit offers up a relatively flat course with a small number turns and only one small climb, the 650 meter up Rossa de Rancate with gradients of up to 10%. Will Fabian Cancellara repeat? Will Canadian Svein Tuft make it to the top step? How will American Tom Zirbel stack up against the cream of the cream? Who will win between Americans Amber Neben and Kristin Armstrong?
Time Trial Start times:
- US U23 men start: Peter Stetina at 11:33 CEST, Tejay van Garderen at 11:42 CEST (see complete list)
- US women start: Jessica Philips at 14:12 CEST, Kristin Armstrong at 16:06 CEST, Amber Neben at 16:15 CEST (see complete list)
- Canada U23 men start: David Veilleux at 11:02 CEST, Ryan Anderson at 11:30 CEST
- US Elite men start: TBA
- Canada Elite men start: TBA
Got to say that I am looking forwards that the racing in the U23 Men’s events as it should be fierce with a strong contingent being fielded by different countries.
So many questions that soon will be answered.