Sunday, August 14 2022

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It’s Wout van Aert and Annemiek van Vleuten against time and the world.

This year’s UCI road world championships put the time trial at the center of attention, with the elite men’s individual time trial kicking off on Sunday and the women’s race on Monday.

The time trial races consist of four days of competition at the 2021 world championships, with women’s and U23 races on Monday, juniors on Tuesday and the mixed relay event on Wednesday, before a rest day on Thursday and races. on the road started on September 24. (see schedule below).

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Since its inception as a world championship discipline in 1994, the individual time trial has seen some of the sport’s biggest names claim the rainbow jersey.

Only two women – Jeannie Longo and Anna van der Breggen – won both world titles in one world. Abraham Olano is the only elite male rider to win both crowns, but in different years.

Could the rainbow jersey sweep be on the cards again this year?

The “two Vans” – van Aert and van Vleuten – are big favorites to win both races.

First, they have to win against the clock, and it won’t be fun for them either.

Who can stop Wout and Annemiek?

That’s the big question for the top two races.

On the men’s side, Olympic time trial champion Primož Roglič did not take the start, as did two time time trial world champion Rohan Dennis (see below) or Tom Dumoulin, absent due to injury.

The women’s race will not see the 2019 world champion, Chloé Dygert, Grace Brown or the reigning world champion van der Breggen.

Read also: Will Annemiek double in Flanders?

That’s not to say that either race won’t be hotly contested.

Van Aert will certainly see tough challenges from Filippo Ganna, Remco Evenepoel, Tadej Pogačar, Stefan Küng and Kasper Asgreen.

Van Vleuten could see a more difficult race, especially given the lack of verticality on the course. Compatriot Ellen van Dijk, Marlen Reusser, Amber Neben and Lisa Brennauer will keep things interesting.

Rain could be a factor in both races, especially for the starters later on Sunday, meaning someone who starts the course earlier could have an advantage. On Monday, the rain is expected to subside as the day progresses, meaning the late starters could have the advantage.

The time trial courses are similar across all disciplines, with the men doing a longer round trip section in the middle at Dudzele.

TT Course: Flat, Fast and Furious

The great rings will rule.

The routes, starting along the North Sea beach in West Flanders, are fast, flat and not very technical. Pure power riders are strongly favored.

The 1.5 km opening, the runners will follow the sea, but not as long as the course turns inland. The wind is an integral part of the landscape, with trees curving sideways along the canals. It is 5 km of straight roads to Dudzele, with a round trip open to the wind for the men’s race, before a passage through Damme.

From there it’s a direct ride to Bruges.

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Escalation? Almost none. There is a total of 78m drop for men, so it’s the big ring from start to finish.

Another big thing for 2021? The juniors and the U23 will be racing again. Last year’s COVID World Championships were only elite races, meaning young runners will be competing for the rainbow jerseys for the first time since 2019.

  • Elite men: Sunday 19 September – 43.3 km
  • Elite Women, U23: Monday September 20 – 30.3km
  • Junior women, men: Tuesday September 21 – 19.3 km, 22.3 km
  • Mixed relay: Wednesday 22 September – 44.5 km

No Australian male or female time trial starters

A team completely absent from the pre-race favorites list is Australia.

The usually regular Australian will not have any starters in the men’s or women’s time trials. Why?

After going far to win bronze at the Olympics, two-time world champion Rohan Dennis opted out of the race. On the women’s side, medal favorite Grace Brown, fourth in Tokyo, is sidelined with injury.

Australia’s national team officials said they preferred to focus on the other categories and let the elite men and women focus on road racing.

Thus, only Australian U23 riders will compete for the medals, with Luke Plapp and Carter Turnbull covering the 30.3 km route from Knokke-Heist to Bruges.

Team USA: Brandon McNulty, Lawson Craddock outsiders for the podium, Amber Neben aims for a third title

USA Cycling will have good medal chances with two-time world champion Amber Neben, who finished fifth in Tokyo in the time trial. Léa Thomas, recently victorious in the Tour Féminin d’Ardèche, will also be looking for the podium.

2019 time trial world champion Chloe Dygert is absent from the road and track world championships after a season built around the Tokyo Olympics as she continues to recover from her horrific crash at the championships of the world last year.

Brandon McNulty, sixth in the road race in Tokyo, and US national time trial champion Lawson Craddock will both be underdogs for a podium spot in the elite men’s race, both starting in a second wave of runners who could pass for a high level race. .

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McNulty, already a medalist in the junior and under 23 time trial, placed in the top 5 in the high level time trials, including third in stage 14 of the Giro d ‘ Italia 2020 and second in a time trial in Itzulia Basque Country this year.

Craddock, fresh off a strong race at Vuelta a España, is hoping to improve on his sixth place at the 2019 World Time Trial Championships, just 13 seconds off the podium.

“I would like to have a better performance than at the Olympics,” Craddock said of the time trial. “The last time I did the Vuelta and the World Championships, I was able to finish in the top 10 in the time trial. So I hope to do something similar, just to reaffirm my self-confidence and show what I’m capable of.

Chance of showers, light wind both days

Rain could impact both races, with the men’s race likely seeing rainfall for the last few Sundays, with rain continuing overnight and through Monday for the women’s and U23 races, with the early starters likely facing more humid roads.

Wind is not expected to be a major factor, with light breezes from the east at around 10 km / h, relatively light compared to the gusts of wind that can blow along West Flanders.

Mild temperatures are forecast for both races, with highs in the upper 60s on Sunday and Monday.

The weather is expected to remain favorable for the junior and mixed time trial races midweek, before heading into weekend road races and an increasing likelihood of downpours.


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