Wollongong > Wollongong 34.4.km ITT
Men and women have the same route and distance, that’s the headline news ahead of the time trial world championship. The lap circuit, which is done twice, will become very familiar over the next week, the road race always uses these roads but has an extra section that isn’t included in the TT.
315m of climbing over 34.4km is a relatively flat route. The main climb is Mount Ousley which is 600m at 7.3%, the length of the climb means it won’t be a big factor in the outcome of the race. The biggest factor is the number of corners, this is a day where riders cannot settle into a rhythm, there’s an awful lot of kicking out of the corners.
The section that suits the specialists is the long run towards the finishing line, it’s around 5km of straight road, with a strong wind coming from the side. This is the point where the big engines can make a difference, but is this section long enough for them?
The route is certainly a new one for a world championship, I can’t remember the last time we had so many corners, it really isn’t a typical route for a TT. Those who corner well will sense a chance of challenging for a medal, this is a good route for those that don’t mind taking a few risks.
Sunny and temperatures will be around 22 degrees. The wind will be a consistent 20km/h, so it should be similar conditions for all.
Marlen Reusser – just last month she beat van Dijk to win the Euro championships, which would have been a confidence boost after losing to her in the world championship last year. Reusser has enjoyed a brilliant season, her move to SD Worx has helped to get the best out of her. This race will be decided by small margins, she’ll be dreaming of her first rainbow jersey.
Ellen van Dijk – the defending champion, and someone who’ll be hard to beat. Unlike her rivals, she didn’t ride La Vuelta, I wonder if that will turn out to be the right decision. As usual, she’s had an excellent season on her TT bike, but her recent defeat at the Euros will be cause for concern.
Annemiek van Vleuten – she’s the bookies favourite for the win, something I don’t agree with. Of course, she’s in amazing form, but the route isn’t one I think she’ll like. To start with, she would like more climbing, and then there’s all the corners. Throw in a strong headwind at points and I don’t think we’ll see her winning gold.
Grace Brown – the home favourite, she’d love to finish on the podium and so would the watching public. Current form is good, I hope she can win the bronze medal.
Filippo Ganna – this isn’t a perfect route for Ganna, he would prefer longer straights which would allow him to hit the power button. As usual, this year has been another good one on his TT bike, but his 3rd place in the Euro champs was a concern for me. He’s just announced that he’s going for the hour record in October, that means his current shape must be good. This is a chance for him to win his third consecutive world title, something that only Tony Martin has done.
Remco Evenepoel – after a swashbuckling display in Spain, he arrives full of confidence, but will his legs respond well? This is the big unknown, but I think the shorter length compared to normal will help him. In terms of a reference point, I always go back to Bradley Wiggins in 2012. He won the Tour de France, which finished on 22nd July, and he won the Olympic TT gold on 1st August. Remco’s turnaround is a couple of days shorter, and he’s also got to contend with the long flight out to Australia, it’s not been the perfect preparation for him, but he’s clearly got amazing form just now. In terms of the route, just like Ganna, I think he’d prefer a less technical one. This year he’s performed very well on his TT bike, he’ll sense a big chance of taking the rainbow jersey.
Tadej Pogačar – his participation took me by surprise, I thought he would have focused on the road race, but I think the route might have teased him in. All the corners are good for him, he’s a wonderful bike handler. He would prefer more climbing, but the corners will allow him to get closer to someone like Ganna. Current form is clearly good, but I don’t see him winning.
Ethan Hayter – of all the riders, I think the route suits him the best. He won a technical prologue in the Tour of Romandie; he loves throwing his bike into corners. The problem is his preparation, he had to abandon the Vuelta after getting COVID on 30th August. As he’s come over to Australia, I think he must be fine and fully fit, otherwise he would have stayed at home. He pushed Ganna and Van Aert close in the Dauphiné TT, he’s got a big chance of taking a medal.
Stefan Küng – 3rd in 2020 is his best result at the worlds, can he beat it this year? He’s won just once on his TT bike this year, but that was his last time out, so the form is good. The route isn’t a bad one for him, he should be challenging for the podium.
Stefan Bissegger – he’s the new Euro champion, so he’ll approach this race with confidence. The corners are good for him, he’s very explosive, more so than most of his rivals. This year he’s had a lot of bad luck in the big races, he’ll be praying to get round without incident, which should allow him a good crack at the gold medal.
Yves Lampaert – just like Hayter, he’s a rider who should like the technical nature of the route but getting on the podium will be tough.
I think we’ll see wins from Marlen Reusser and Remco Evenepoel.
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