So who do we pick as the winner of the Road Cycling Championship? Well I went out and rode the course, and took at look at the climbs and flat sections to see which riders the course is best suited to.
The Elite men’s will do 11 laps of the 15km course a total of 262.7kms. The Elite Women will ride 8 laps 127.2kms and Under 23 Men 10 laps, 159kms.
It was expected the course would be flat which isn’t the case, with the 2nd climb being tough, with a gradual 8% gradient, peaking at 13%, after the first few laps, the peloton will split as riders legs get smashed from the climbs and dropped on the descents.
I’m tipping the finish will come down to the rider who can out-climb the rest of the field and stay away, a small group of classic riders could break away on the climb. On the 2.5kms long descent I hit around 60-70km/hr so riders that can descend well will hit 80-90kmh. This is where riders who are dropped might be able to get back on, or riders who can’t descend will lose valuable time.
The last section consists of a short sharp climb, where a climber might make a lone break before turning onto the final straight. The final 750 meter straight is slightly uphill, where someone like Cancellara, if he’s still with the bunch, could punch out some power and take victory. Or if the sprinters can hang on, we might get a sprinters finish. Don’t expect any surprises here though as its a long straight finish, a sprinter like Farrar who can sprint from a long way out could have the advantage to then take victory.
With tough climbs, and fast downhill sections, the pace should be fast in the opening few laps before a split in the main field and the sprinters being dropped. Can Cadel make a break again? This remains to be seen and he will be heavily marked. If it comes down to a sprint, look for Greipel, or Farrar, both are in great form towards the end of of the season. Mark Cavendish, I don’t think he has the legs for the climbs. If a breakaway of riders gets free I think we’ll see Filippo Pozzato, Allan Davis and Oscar Freire in there, with Thor Hushovd and Fabian Cancellara in the groupetto.
So who’s my pick, Australians would love to see Cadel win it again on home soil after his magical breakaway to claim the Rainbow jersey last year – all the favorites will have him marked. The course however better suits a rider like Allan Davis or Filippo Pozzato. Overall I think Freire will have it, being able to climb and with the support of his countrymen Freire will be able to hold onto a lead on the remaining laps to get the victory.
Here is my pick of podium potentials for 2010 UCI World Championships Mens Elite Road Race:
Oscar Freire (top pick)
Edvald Boasson Hagen
Allan Davis (Aussie – well suited)
Cadel Evans (Aussie – reigning champ)