14H 38M 49S
That’s how long until the Worlds 2010 begin. It’s an exciting week here with the Worlds starting in Geelong Australia (#2010worlds if you twitter or tweet) with the Under 23 Mens TT kicking things off in style.
After Europe, where their long and fabulous adventure began in 1927, America and Asia, which played host five times since the 1970s, the road cycling World Championships are ready to take a fourth continent by storm – Oceania. The host country for the 2010 edition of the UCI’s main event is Australia, which is now one of the world’s great cycling power houses. The growing success of the Tour Down Under; the UCI ProTour’s opening event, as well as the exploits of the best Aussies, in particular Cadel Evans, World Champion a year ago in Mendrisio, all point to one thing: Pro cycling at its best!
The 2010 UCI Road World Championships in Melbourne and Geelong – which begin on Wednesday with the Under-23 and Women’s time trial events will undoubtedly be greeted with the same whole-hearted enthusiasm, even euphoria which currently surrounds Australian cycling.
Situated on the bay of Corio about 70km from Melbourne, Geelong is a small tourist spot which has already organised a round of the UCI Women’s Road World Cup and will be at the heart of the event.
Only the last race of these Championships, the one which will award the most coveted rainbow jersey of the week (and which will be raced for the first time without the help of earpieces), will set off from Melbourne, before attacking the beautiful and demanding Geelong circuit. Here, the riders will have to cover the demanding course 11 times for a total distance of 262.7km.
Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara will attempt to win his fourth title in the time trial event and has also said not to discount him in the RR. Spain’s Oscar Freire, who dreams of becoming the first rider in history to win the World Championships road race four times, the Italian Filippo Pozzato, who won the “rehearsal” in Ballarat and the Belgian Philippe Gilbert are the main favourites. along with Britain’s Mark Cavendish to succeed Cadel Evans. Meanwhile, the Australian will give his all in front of his own public in order to honour the gold medal he won in 2009 in great style.
The Elite TT:
The Course: narrow roads and challenging surfaces will suit the specialists and those who are at one with their machines. Here, they can take some big time from their rivals through the closing sections. Some long fast downhill sections on the course mean that it presents the opportunity for an upset, the key is how the favoured riders utilise the difficult climbs on the course to their advantage. A true test!
Tony Martin, the German champion has already voiced that the course is a tough one.
“I must admit, my mouth fell open the first time I saw the climbs, the course is really challenging, even if not technical…
with the 10-to 15 percent gradient climbs it will really require a lot of strength – irregular, windy and with a rough surface.”
A World Championship TT wouldn’t be complete without Fabian Cancellara of course.
Although he suffered an unexpected defeat at the Vuelta finish he’s a firm favourite here. The climbs will hurt but surely nothing is too much for this man?!
“I want to make history here” with the TT and RR medal within his grasp can he bag them both this week?
“It’s not enough to be strong, because of the two climbs on the course which you have to race twice, it’s a very difficult race. You have to have a tactical approach to the race and you have to even your forces out.”
The Road Race:
The race starts off from Federation Square in Melbourne, the physical and cultural heart of the City. From here they will venture South crossing the Yarra River and down to Werribee, rolling past the racecourse along Bulban Rd, before moving out into some vast country, taking in an essence of Australia’s wide open space. With little in the way of cover, high winds can potentially cause havoc throughout this section, perhaps applying some early pressure on the pedals. Once into Geelong, the riders have 11 laps of the 15.9km circuit remaining.
With 52 countries bringing a team along, there is talent galore and the race could quite easily have a surprise winner. Team-work will play a big part, especially with the winds and final finishing circuit.
We’ll start with Italy. They have already been making the headlines for winning the weekends Ballarat Classic race. Just 130km long so they decide to ride the 70km’s from their hotel to the race, ride the race (and win!) and then ride home. A normal day for a Pro, a massive day for most of us!
While they have no specific sprinter (Bennati) they have Nibali and Pozzato. A Vuelta winner, weekend race warrior and some sound domestiques to back them up – yes please. Their manager Paolo Bettini (World Champ and Olympic medal winner) is confident, saying “The general impression is that it’s tough, like Pozzato, Paolini and Visconti noted in July and Nibali has confirmed it to me too!”
Nibali has said “It’s not a simple course, it’s tough and demanding, the two climbs could make the difference.”
- Watch out for: Nibali using his Vuelta form to take the win.
- Classic Italian temperaments and coffee shop style.
- Pozzato pouncing on any females in close proximity after the finish (he’s on a sex ban in the run-up)
An interesting year for American cycling, Lance has finally bowed out of the Tour (we salute you sir) and in the other Grand Tours the Americans have had a hard time. Vande Velde taking many tumbles, Farrar outsprinting Cavendish last month and David Zabriskie being a likeable team mate (Garmin Transitions).
If Farrar can make it to the finish he’ll be one of the fastest around.
Mr Gilbert, the master of the uphill finish has said that he likes the course in Geelong. Full of confidence after his first training ride on the world championship road course in Melbourne, calling it “especially tough” and “good for me” because of the two short but steep climbs on each laps. “The simulation ride on the indoor trainer that national coach Carlo Bomans showed me was bang on: It’s not easy, there are two steep climbs, with the first one a lot like the slope that we had last year in the Belgian Championship in Aywaille”
If his team can support him (full of solid Belgians) and put him to the front on the final climb he’ll be in with a chance.
Yesterday Cavendish was warning his rivals that “All this month my legs have felt hard, like they’re made of steel.”
“It’s like last year before I won Milan-San Remo; you just know when you’ve got good form, you don’t do your legs any muscle damage with a hard ride, you can feel them getting stronger. And that’s what’s happening now.”
With David Millar and Jeremy Hunt alongside him while down on numbers they certainly have grit, determination and if it rains plenty of IOM experience to battle on to the finish line.
Today though he’s had a change of heart, having ridden the circuit it’s now been confirmed a “toughie”
“The course is certainly too difficult for me” he said. With other countries fielding sprinters a bunch finish would be entertaining for all, though with Italy not bringing one they don’t seem to think this will happen.
Maybe Gilbert will ride away from them all after all?!
The gracious hosts, people we love and a lovely place to visit and live. Australia have worked hard in getting the course up to standard (which involved building an emergency bridge due to flood water) and of course their home rider Cadel Evans is going to want to retain his Rainbow World Champion jersey.
His performance in Mendrisio was captivating, his attack so perfectly timed with his many years of sitting in second or third place. When the course was announced he was upbeat about it.
With Italy and Belgium fielding strong teams, not to mention Spain and Switzerland he’s not going to have an easy day in the office.
“I think it’s going to depend a lot on the weather conditions and whether the big teams race, not only on the initial laps but also on the way out from Melbourne,” said Evans. “The climb is obviously going to be something important but whether it happens there, or at the start, I don’t know”
Time sadly prevents me from getting into any more team line-ups, though just quickly Spain have Oscar Freire who should get on well with an uphill finish (also Milan SR winner) and Switzerland have Fabian Cancellara who is just a monster, end of.
Also shouldn’t forget the hotly contested women’s race plus the under 23 events. Any cycling on TV is good and the youngsters definitely add some unpredictability and excitement to proceedings.
|To catch all the action on your mobile head here to get the UCI App which should keep you up to date.|
For a change the western world are going to suffer from the time difference. If you’re in the UK get on BBC Interactive for live coverage (12-6.50am) or if you want the top class commentary of Eurosport they are playing the coverage at a slightly more sociable hour early Sunday morning (7.35-10.45am) for the Men’s RR.
If you’re planning a worlds party let us know, our resident racer Dave will be watching all the action with his trusty camera in tow – say hi to him and if you really want to get close ask for a picture for our Worlds 2010 gallery which will be up early next week.