Worlds Group Ride

G’day, mates! In case you’ve not been enduring the latest barrage of pro cyclist tweets from Down Under (Fabian Cancellara said the food at “Swiss Haus” was just like home), the World Championships are nigh. The 45.8km time trial is Thursday on a course departing from Geelong, and the men’s elite road race is Sunday in Melbourne.

In the time trial, Cancellara, aiming for his fourth TT World Championship, is clearly the man to beat. Anyone naming worthy challengers would have elicited a hearty guffaw from this writer prior to the ITT on Stage 17 of the recently completed Vuelta a España. Cancellara finished third that day, a show of mortality we’ve not seen from the Swiss chronometer in a long time. So Michael Rogers now officially has a shot. Richie Porte’s name has been bandied about. Tony Martin can’t be written off, nor, perhaps David Millar.

In the road race, all the big favorites have been very busy this week accusing each other of being the big favorites. Cadel Evans thinks Pippo Pozzato or Phil Gilbert will win it. The pundits and punters all have their eyes on Oscar Freire. Somewhere, off in a corner, Mark Cavendish is trying to summon the confidence (poor lad is always lacking for self belief) to have a tilt at it. Some say it’s a sprinter’s course. Others say the hilly part of the circuit that reaches down into Geelong makes it one for the classics men.

I love the tension that builds before a race like this, every rider playing down his chances, trying to lay low enough to be able to spring a surprise when the right moment comes.

Another distinct possibility is that Cancellara will win the TT and the road race, making everyone else look silly and giving his new Luxembourgish team the opportunity to make a combined World Champion’s jersey before they’ve even turned a pedal in anger.

You know how these Group Rides work though. We want to hear your predictions. Sticker pack to the first one who names both winners first.

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14 comments

  1. James

    In the ITT I’ll go with Cancellara. In the road race I think Cadel has a chance to do it again as the courses finish sounds a bit like Fleche Wallone with the Mur de Huy at the end. Probably wrong as usual, but…

  2. K

    Wade mentioned this on cyclingtips, but wind might also be a factor. Those long straight roads are in an area that commonly gets a nasty crosswind. It could easily break up a peloton. If it happens I’m not sure how this will play out, but it might also play in the favour of the classics riders.

  3. Jim

    TeeJay Van Garderen, because he’s been a stagiare with Lance Armstrong’s Radio Shack squad, which won the prestigious team competition in this year’s Tour de France…

    Of course I don’t really think that… I just wanted to beat Phil Ligget and John Wilcockson to the punch.

  4. Champs

    Yeah, it’s Martin in ITT, Gilbert in road race. Spartacus can’t top up enough after going so empty for Saxo Bank at the Vuelta.

    Oh, and so speaking of that team, their roster is getting shakier than the finances behind Team Luxembourg.

  5. randomactsofcycling

    I missed the start of this one, but I was there to see the action!
    As an Aussie, and not at all parochial, I’m going for Allan Davis in the RR. There are a couple of nasty hills in the circuit, but the finish is an uphill sprint. Any sprinter that can get over the last hill (20%) with one or two team mates(maybe Freire), will be in with a chance.

  6. MattyVT

    The TT is in the bag, but I’d wager that it’s going to be hard to beat Gilbert in the road race on Sunday. Like Cancellara he’s one of few who can effectively still capitalize on massive form even though everyone in the group is out to neutralize them.

    I’ve voted for Pippo at other races, but I think he’ll end up on the lowest step on the podium with Kolobnev taking second. If I had to wager on 4th and 5th I’d say a revelation like Sagan or Velits 4th and a strong veteran Rouleur who can make it over the hills like Hushovd for 5th.

  7. michael

    what a final 2 laps! Big Thor wins it! I was really rooting for Evans to repeat but Gilbert’s move was from too far out with that finishing run and the chase from evans and crew just left them with too little time to recover for the sprint.

    outstanding race, without radios to boot.

  8. michael

    I also just have to say that Cadel has honored his jersey like no other world champion in the last, oh 20 years or so? Battling all the way to the very end after a brilliant season.

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