September 22/09 10:38 am - Road Worlds Time Trial Preview and PHOTOS
Posted by Editor on 09/22/09
Today riders had their first chance on the time trial course for the Road World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland. Just a few kilometres from the Italian border north of Milan, the event has a distinctly Italian flavour to it.
Coverage of the 2009 World Championships made possible with the support of Shimano
The men's 16.5 kilometre course heads north out of Mendrisio on wide roads, with a couple of roundabouts and sharp turns to negotiate. The first half is mostly a gradual downhill run, before two tight left turns into a more technical second half with a short climb. The second half takes the riders through some very narrow villages and up a short, steep climb before heading back into the start-finish. The elite men do three laps and the U23s two. The women race an abbreviated course of 13.4 kilometres, with the top end of the course cut off, but including the climb), and will complete two laps. The U23 men race tomorrow morning (9:30 am local/3:30 am Eastern/12:30 am Pacific), followed by the women. The elite men race on Thursday.
"It's a beautiful course, it looks like it will be really fast," commented Svein Tuft, who won the silver medal last year. "It's definitely a flat out, put your head down and stay as tight as you can course. there's not much technical stuff going on, and the climb, it's a bit steep towards the top, but nothing that's going to blow you up." (See the video interview below)
Of course, Olympic champion Fabian Cancellara, competing on home soil is the big favourite for the men, along with Britain's Bradley Wiggins and defending champion Bert Grabsch (Germany). Tuft has had a difficult year, after a bad crash in the Tour of California, but has 15 stages of the Vuelta in his legs, ad the course does suit his style of riding. Tuft will be canada's only entry in the elite men's category.
On the women's side, Germany's Judith Arndt is always a favourite, but she has just returned to competition after an injury-plagued season. Christine Soeder (Austria) is coming off a very strong ride at the Ardeche in France. Also at the top of the list will be two Americans - defending champion Amber Neben and Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong. Both are expected to retire after this season. Canadian champion Tara Whitten and U23 champion Julie Beveridge could also do well here.
in the U23 category, Canada has David Veilleux and Ryan Anderson.