September 28/10 9:57 am - Road World Championships: Preview
Posted by Editoress on 09/28/10
The 2010 Road World Championships open tomorrow in Geelong, Australia with the Under 23 Men and Elite Women time trials, after a session of closed course training today.
The District Minister officially opens the Championships, with Phil Anderson on the left
The U23 Men race two laps of the 15.9 kilometre road course, while the Elite Women do one lap of the extended 22.7 kilometre route the Elite Men race, on Thursday (two laps). Canada has Hugo Houle and David Boily racing the U23 race, Tara Whitten and Anne Samplonius for the women's event and Svein Tuft will race the Elite men's race.
The circuit is not the 'sprinters course' that it had previously been called, with two significant climbs per lap - Great Britain's Mark Cavendish has already publicly stated that he has given up his ambitions of winning.
From the start on Moorabool Street the circuit heads down towards the Barwon River, crossing it for the first time and immediately making a sharp left turn to follow along the river. After a kilometre they hit the first section of the main climb and after a short respite in the middle, turn right to continue up Scenic Road. (Note: the road course takes a second, steeper route to the top of the same climb, with the final 75 metres at 18%-plus)
From the top, the riders drop down a curving descent to the much talked about temporary bridge back across the Barwon River. The usual bridge is a narrow one lane affair, so the army built a temporary bridge next to it, with a paved chicane entrance straight off the descent, which could be interesting with a large field in the road races.
After having all their speed off to get across the bridge, riders immediately face the second climb - short and steep. Over the top, there is a long, bumpy and slightly downhill run of 5.5 kilometres heading back towards and along the Bass Strait bay. From there the U23 riders (and road races) make a right turn for the last 500 metres of 4% climbing.
The Elite men and women do not make that final right turn onto the finishing straight. Instead, they go straight on, along the edge of the bay before turning inland and looping back to join the main circuit just before the start-finish line. The extra section adds one small gradual climb and descent.
Svein Tuft on the climb
The climbs have been the main topic of conversation, but Svein Tuft doesn't consider them to necessarily be the deciding feature. "I think the climbs will be a big factor, but being able to push a big gear everywhere else will be more important. This is a course that requires a constant effort, you can't back off at all."
In the U23 men's race, American Taylor Phinney is the top favourite, after having recently beating Levi Leipheimer in the US Pro championships. For the women, there are a number of contenders, including Judith Arndt (Germany), Amber Neben (USA) and Emma Pooley (Great Britain). Both Samplonius and Whitten could easily be in the top-ten.
- Congratulations to Christian Meier who was married on Saturday to Amber Bouwman. The wedding photographer has loaded some photos onto her blog