2010 Cycling World Championships Preview and Predictions
The UCI Road Cycling World Championships begin tomorrow in Geelong, Australia.
one. Eleven rides up these two climbs should break up the field and reduce it to a small group that will battle for the gold medal.
Who will win the gold medal? Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) seems to be the man to beat. The Belgian won Stages 3 and 19 of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, as well as the 2010 Amstel Gold Race. Early in the season, Gilbert said that he did not fancy his chances in the worlds, but no one believes him anymore. Do not be surprised to see him win the gold medal.
Filippo Pozzato (Italy) won Stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia last spring and the Herald Sun Cycling Classic Ballarat this past Sunday. Moreover, the Italian finished third behind Gilbert and Tyler Farrar (United States) in Stage 19 of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana. The Italian is finding his form at the right time, and he will be a force to be reckoned with on Sunday. Handicapping him for silver is wise.
The bronze medal is harder to handicap than gold or silver. A number of worthy riders will fight for the last medal. Oscar Freire and Samuel Sanchez (both from Spain) cannot be discounted. The former is a three-time world road race champion and a sprinter who can stay near the lead on climbs such as the ones on Sunday's course. Sanchez finished fourth in the 2010 Vuelta and has the form and the experience to ride well in a one-day race, as his gold medal in the 2008 Olympic road race shows. Expecting these two riders to make the final break is a good move.
Defending champion Cadel Evans (Australia) will have the advantage of fighting on home ground. In addition, after having won the world championship in 2009, the Australian has found confidence that he lacked before and has won La Fleche Wallonne and two stages of the Giro d'Italia. He also wore the maillot jaune for a day in this year's Tour de France. He broke an elbow in the Tour and has been slow recuperating. Still, a defending champion can never be written off, particularly when he rides in front of his compatriots.
Thor Hushovd (Norway) won a stage of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana. He can stay with anyone who is not a specialist climber and has a good sprint at the finish. The course's finish is uphill, which will suit the Norwegian. He cannot be ruled out.
Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) has had a career year in one-day races. He has won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. However, since the spring, Spartacus has ridden two Grand Tours, and until two days ago, he was not sure that he would compete in Australia. He intends to compete in the time trial and road race, but if his form is not at its best, do not be surprised if he opts out of the latter. If Cancellara is at his best, winning the double is not out of the question.
Alexander Kolobnev (Russia) is the 2010 Russian road race champion, and he finished second at this year's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He took the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic road race, and he won silver medals at the 2007 and 2009 world road race championships. The Russian knows what to do at the end