September 25/07 1:12 am - Road Worlds: ITT Preview and Photos
Posted by Editoress on 09/25/07
Coverage sponsored by Norco
The 2007 Road World Championships kick off tomorrow in Stuttgart, Germany with the U23 Men and Elite Women individual time trials, followed by the elite men on Thursday. Although the weather forecasts have called for rain for the week (starting today), so far it has held off, with sun and patchy cloud cover today.
The riders had their first chance to try out the time trial circuit today for one hour, when it was closed to traffic. The main circuit is a 12.8 kilometre loop and finishes on the uphill rise of Am Kochenhof. The finishing road climbs 75 metres in the final two kilometres of racing. The women do this circuit for 25.1 kilometres, while the U23 and elite men do an extra out-and-back portion, with a main climb to Wende at 450 metres in altitude. The U23 men add 6.5 kilometres for a total of 38.1 kilometres and the Elite men tack on 9.9 kilometres for 44.9 kilometres in total.
Kristin Armstrong (USA) will be defending her title strongly, but there will be lots of competition. Switzerland's Karin Thurig will be a strong contender, and Canada's Anne Samplonius has been preparing specifically for this event for the past month.
"Personally, I like the course, it suits me well," commented Samplonius after the practice session. "It is definitely better than last year, which had a lot of climbing; this one is fast, a pure time trialers course."
"There are still hills, of course, but they are more gradual, so it is easier to get into a rhythm. But it is a lot more technical than I expected; there are lots of tricky corners. You can't carry the speed through the corners - you have to brake and get off the aero bars, and it will be easy to crash. There is one sweeping right hand downhill corner that is very deceiving, and a 90-degree right hander over some train tracks. If it rains, it will be very tough."
"I think the final uphill over the last three kilometres will be crucial; that is the only place where you can really make time."
Alex Wrubelski will be Canada's second entry in the women's category, while there are two strong Canadian contenders in the U23 men - David Veilleux and Christian Meier. The big favourite for the U23 gold, however, is last year's silver medalist Mikhail Ignatiev of Russia.
Because it is a two lap race, the riders will be sent off in waves (one wave starts after the previous one is on its second lap). David Veilleux will be the third rider off in the first wave, while Christian Meier is the sixth in the second wave). For the women, Anne Samplonius is the third rider in the second wave and Alex Wrubleski is the third rider in the third wave.
The men get underway at 9:00 am local time (3:00 am EDT/Midnight PDT), and the women at 1:00 pm local (7:00 am EDT/4:00 am PDT). We will begin updates in the last hour of the U23 race (approximately 6:30 am EDT/3:30 am PDT).
- The Australians swapped out Cadel Evans and Bradley McGee for Adam Hansen and Ben Day. Evans will rest up after finishing the Vuelta a few days ago, instead of doing the time trial (although Hansen has also just finished the Vuelta).
- Spain is still hoping to get Alejandro Valverde into the men's road race on Sunday, pending a CAS (Court for Arbitration in Sport) appeal. The UCI excluded both him and Australian Allan Davis on the basis of there still being an outstanding investigation on the Puerto affair. Both their respective federations have cleared them but "if you read the regulations carefully, they can race every other race in the world except for this (Worlds) and the Olympics, it is very clear" stated a UCI spokesperson.
- There were some very happy bid teams this morning, when the UCI announced the winning bids for the 2010 world championships. As we reported earlier, Mont Ste-Anne Canada will get the Mountain Bike and Trials Worlds; Melbourne, Australia the Road; Tabor, Czech Republic for Cyclo-cross; St-Wendel, Germany has Marathon and Pietersmeritzburg, South Africa for BMX.
See our earlier Daily News posting for the video of the announcement and interviews with Pat McQuaid and MSA organizer Chantal Lachance. The Mountain Bike Worlds will take place in early September and the Road Worlds in early to mid-October. The Mountain Bike Worlds has a budget of over $4 million, while the Road Worlds budget is in excess of $15 million (including $5 million to the UCI).