World Road Race Championship 2017 (Qatar)

World Championships 2016 – Men’s Individual Time Trial Preview

Course:

Traditionally a race against the clock, this year’s individual time trial shall have the added protagonist of the desert sun added into the equation, ensuring life become even more gruelling as the riders aim to leave nothing left in the tank as they cross the line in pursuit of the career changing rainbow bands. A relatively simple affair which stretches for 40km over smooth tarmac, this year’s contest is near enough a drag race from start to finish, with only a few roundabouts to break up the rhythm of the riders as they travel from Lusail to The Pearl. As already demonstrated by the women’s time trial yesterday, the heat’s ability to accelerate fatigue can be mismanaged and ultimately tip a rider to the point of heat exhaustion in only a few kilometres of being in the red. Although plenty of riders today shall have already gained a glimpse of the roads during the team time trial a few days ago, the true attritional nature of riding this discipline alone will have been somewhat disguised during the team event. With no opportunities to balance efforts on ascents and descents, once each rider is up to speed, there is little pause in cadence or effort until they cross the finish line. This unusual course and location is sure to last as an impressive conquest for whoever leaves Qatar with a scorched set of rainbow bands upon their shoulders.

World Time Trial Championship 2017 (Qatar)

Contenders:

Tony Martin appears to be in great form heading into the contest today and finally suggests the kind of condition which has previously secured him a trio of world championship titles. However, his season has not always been encouraging leading into this major target and there have been blips as Martin tinkered between his ideal position on the bike. Looking at his year as a whole, it is not the broad array of victories normally seen in a favourite for a world title, but his class is timeless and there is a strong possibility he will seize upon a peak in form to take victory in Qatar.

Tom Dumoulin‘s rise to the top table of time trialists has been impressive, though has stalled somewhat as a result of his growing ambition to challenge for the general classification at major stage races. The Dutchman has endured a tough season and may now already find his body anticipating winter’s rest before he rolls off the start ramp. There is a clear lack of recent results to mark him out as the favourite, yet his innate talent ensures that a medal is certainly within his grasp still. The course is too simplistic for him in regards to topography, but he might be able to make some minor gains during the more technically demanding turns and roundabouts.

Rohan Dennis left the Olympics clearly disappointed by his performance in the time trial and has since chosen to refocus in an attempt to remedy that by going for gold here. His preparation has been the most consistent of all the main contenders, recording great performances at both the Tour of Britain and Eneco Tour, arriving here with confidence to spare. The nature of the course should allow him to lay down the power from end to end, but it is his lack of convincing performances over similar distances which raises doubts as to his hopes of burying his opposition for certain.

Jonathan Castroviejo has returned to his best when it comes to racing against the clock in 2016 and shall now be seriously pushing for a medal at this year’s world championship. He has played down his chances due to the incredibly flat nature of the course, though this has not always prevented him from matching the best in such contests, while both distance or temperature has the potential to level the playing field yet further still. Throughout the season he has matched the very best at some of the biggest races and it would not be a great surprise to see him breakthrough to take the win here today.

Victor Campenaerts looks to be well-suited to the task at hand and will hope to end his season with a performance which demonstrates just how brilliantly he has been riding in the time trials as of late. He finished second to Jonathan Castroviejo at the European Games and demonstrated his ability to perform well on long flat courses such as this on several occasions this year. Certainly worth watching throughout the day, Campenaerts definitely has a chance of sneaking into the medal places at the expense of a bigger name.

Others deserving of a mention are Vasil KiryienkaTaylor PhinneyAlex Dowsett and Jos Van Emden.

Outcome:

1st Jonathan Castroviejo 2nd Tony Martin 3rd Rohan Dennis

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Rapido Guide – Tirreno Adriatico Stage 7 Preview

Course:

With several names still in contention for the overall win at Tirreno Adriatico the outcome will be decided by the final day’s individual time trial. The 10km blast around the streets of San Benedetto Del Tronto is poised to determine 2016’s edition of the race, but our attention instead turns to the likely contenders for stage victory on the concluding day.

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Contenders:

Fabian Cancellara is in fantastic form so far this season and it is easy to see him taking the victory here with a barnstorming run which sets him up nicely for the classics season. Tony Martin is renowned for his abilities against the clock and this flat course should suit him well, though the short distance might make it difficult for the German to really put the power down effectively. Taylor Phinney is still on the road to recovery, but today is a fantastic opportunity to notch another won during his recuperation, the shorter course offering Phinney a realistic chance of causing an upset. Other riders likely to pepper the day’s final top ten are Alex DowsettStephen CummingsMaciej Bodnar and Bob Jungels.

It is also worth mentioning, that in the battle for the overall classification at Tirreno Adriatico, we expect World Champion Peter Sagan to overturn the deficit and walk away with his first stage race win in the rainbow bands; despite having not won an individual stage.

Outcome:

1st Fabian Cancellara 2nd Taylor Phinney 3rd Tony Martin

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A Day At The Races – Tour of Britain 2015


Tour of Britain Stage 7 – Fakenham to Ipswich

Terrain: Country lanes & military airbase

Weather: Lazy drizzle & grey skies

Total Distance: 227.1km                Crowds: Waterproof ponchos everywhere

Start: Fakenham Racecourse        Best Game Face: Graham Briggs

Bradley Wiggins Factor: Parting fans like Moses to make sign-on


Lean racing machines stalk Fakenham racecourse as commonplace, so to see a crowd gathered around the parade ring is nothing unusual here. But today’s runners and riders distinctly lack the expected glossy manes of racehorses, even if Rasmus Quaade does sport a powerful moustache, however plenty here still share a fondness for oats with the thoroughbreds who normally excite the grandstand. This toy town sized venue sits nestled amongst the intricate spaghetti work of Norfolk’s roads, testing both bus and driver as much as any Alpine ascent, resulting in a tediously drawn out transfer for all the riders.

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Unsurprisingly, the day’s dank dawn has done little to persuade the teams away from their space age wagons, with only a handful of British domestic teams bold enough to saddle up on the turbos outside. So unattractive is the weather, that for many of the squads here, the sign-on process has turned into a 100m dash from bus to stage and back. When out onstage however, the speakers gurgle with the daily spiel, guaranteeing each rider’s wave earns a cheer from the crowd; now steaming beneath their complimentary rain ponchos.

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Despite the sport’s huge groundswell of interest on British turf thanks to Cavendish, Wiggins, Armitstead Hoy, Pendleton and Froome; cycling remains a strange beast. There are no true limitations for ambling around the riders and their buses, teams relying on the constraints of social norms stopping strangers from inviting themselves onto the bus and generally being weird. The majority of today’s attendance is firmly ensconced within touching distance of the Team WIGGINS van. A sea of limbs grasping smartphones in place of autograph books, contorting their bodies to rattle off selfies with the thread slim Bradley Wiggins stalking the crowded barrier in shot.

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This knight’s fellow men-at-arms form the remaining five sixths of his battalion, three of whom slink away to sign-on and return with little interest from the crowd. Bradley on the other hand cycles the hundred meters to the stage with an amateur town crier ahead of him, negotiating a gangway through those magnetised into orbit by his charisma.

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Wiggins narrows the scope of a race so acutely that appreciation of the breadth and depth of riders here can became momentarily suspended. Regardless of whether Britain is truly enamoured or simply infatuated by cycling, the profile of the sport has struck an exponential phase of development. This 2015 line-up bolsters World Champions, several National Champions, Grand Tour jersey winners, Monument winners and one of Eritrea’s favourite sons. A once backwater race now sits at the top table of cycling with the room to grow in stature yet further still, admittedly how best to do so is uncertain, though Tour of Britain’s take on the eccentric Tour de France advertising cavalcade could be a start.

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Fakenham’s drizzled starting line becomes populated all of a sudden, the weather inspiring riders for a Le Mans style scramble to saddle up and ride out with no hanging around. The previous six days of racing are already etched deep on the brow of many, exaggerated by the tangible heavy sigh pressing down on the peloton from the cinderblock sky above. As they trickle out from the racecourse like a loose thread, it seems that a miserable day is all that lies in store for these riders.

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Finish – Ipswich Town Centre

Weather: Blue skies and obscene levels of sunshine

Crowds: Skilled in parkour to get a good view

Bradley Wiggins Factor: Encouraging the 60+ age group to sprint over walls


Like ants beneath a magnified sun, the riders now skitter across scorched tarmac, sailing through the technical kilometres preceding the Ipswich town centre finish. Britain’s climate has impersonated a more continental vibe for the latter half of the day, spectators swap their hot chocolate for cool lagers, while riders strip down to short sleeves for the heated finale into town. Whereas Fakenham’s departure point felt like a juddering steam engine building up pressure to leave the station, the habitual scanning from ‘jumbotron’ to finishing straight (and back again), is more akin to waiting for a thundering bullet train to blitz its way to the line. So eager are those gathered to witness the anticipated showdown between Elia Viviani and André Greipel, that the rooftops of estate agents, apartments, bars and banks now become sky-high terraces for those able to negotiate their way to the summit.

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If the start’s modest crowd of enthusiasts and dedicated Rapha/Wiggins acolytes demonstrated a local interest, Stage 7’s town centre finale confirms a nation’s burgeoning obsession. Barriers are five bodies deep, even beyond the finishing line, with 50km still to race before the peloton begin bearing down on the county capital’s outskirts. Time is said to be relative at best, but waiting for first sight of a rider exiting the final bend exaggerates this further still, spectators hung in suspended animation, as minute by minute nothing changes in Ipswich. ‘Jumbotron’ serves as the only assurance that there is indeed a race worth waiting for here. A breath which never quite suffices or the infinite fall of shepard tones, being a spectator feels punishing on occasion, with the prospect of watching paint dry seeming electric after a while.

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Time at the line is focused on one calculation: the exact moment at which your eyes can scan down from the live TV and register that the riders are now before you with only 100m left. From rider to spectator, road racing’s facets are sunk deep within hours of increasing tension, before venting frenziedly and abruptly for the mad rush across the line. Synapses spark in an attempt to translate the initial smattering of vibrant jerseys into rider names, and in turn, vocalise some sort of motivational howl to nudge your favoured rider over the line. Today that rider is André Greipel, cementing his season’s final victory in a year which has seen him collect at least one win from nine of his ten stage race appearances. Who said sprinting stopped at 33 years old?

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Then it dawns across the crowd – “That’s it.”
The race both comes to life and fades within several pedal revolutions; perhaps no other sports is so tightly bonded to ‘the moment’ in that respect. Rugby, tennis and football drag beyond an hour and have their entirety spectated upon from one location, while much of track and field, or even gymnastics, is the repetition of efforts in pursuit of perfection. Staying at home for armchair race coverage fails to guarantee witnessing everything either, as directors cut from camera to camera in an attempt to please every nation’s fans; missing breaks suddenly forming, riders being dropped or losing everything altogether as weather sabotages live feed.

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Those who prop themselves up against a race barrier exchange hours of staring at dire advertising hoardings, for a fleeting moment which places them alongside their heroes. In that moment comes the satisfaction of sharing it with those who inspire you, a process repeated for fans from kilometre zero to the day’s final podium presentation. Photography mirrors this attribute of cycling well, all of the shots here could be flashes in the memory of any individual who turned out for the day. There is no football style ‘build up play’ to be remembered when standing roadside, this sport hinges on being in the right place at the right time; on either side of the barriers.

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Ultimately it becomes an addiction, wanting another pass by the peloton, spotting your favourite rider or dreaming of seeing the race winning move vanish up the road. Even nowadays with parades of press motorbikes surrounding the bunch and helicopters overhead, certain aspects and stories of the race are only documented through those dedicated followers at the roadside. For those who decided to watch Stage 7 at some point from Fakenham to Ipswich, all now possess a moment which intertwines them with the race. Yet a lucky few will have walked away with a story too and it is in the pursuit of those tales which fuels interest to become obsession.

END.


Mens-Individual-Time-Trial-Richmond-World-Championships-2015-Spokenforks-Preview

Richmond World Championships 2015 – Men’s Individual Time Trial Preview

Course:

Richmond offers up a relatively simple course to decide the 2015 Individual Time Trial World Champion, laying down the foundations for a race built upon power and speed, though a hard finish will ensure nobody slinks across the line having not sunk deep into the lactic acid. This 53km long course is certain to catch many of the thoroughbred time trialists here by surprise, off the back of a season which has lacked opportunities to test themselves over similar courses and distances at the very top level.

With wide boulevards marking the way throughout the race, riders will not require any great technical nous to negotiate tight bends or tricky descent, instead finding themselves able to focus intently upon both power and aerodynamics. The course itself does roll gently throughout, extended hills appearing on occasion, but it is the run into home which will require the greatest focus and effort of all. The last 2km lead downwards to a turn which places the riders onto the opening ramps of the 300m ascent of Governor Street, this relatively short ascent is extended by a close to 700m false flat which pushes right the way up to the line.

Ultimately, though the course is a mixed bag, it comprises two relatively contrasting halves; opening with the majority of the rolling terrain and concluding with a more technical second half which includes the tougher ascent of Governor Street. As mentioned, the two deciding factors here are bound to be power and aerodynamic position, with less of a focus upon power-to-weight ratio, those who can keep low to the bike and churn over a big gear steadily are favourites to emerge in the battle for a medal.

Mens-Individual-Time-Trial-Richmond-World-Championships-2015-Spokenforks-Preview

Contenders:

Tony Martin finds himself faced with an opportunity to regain his rainbow bands once again, but on this occasion lacking his greatest adversaries in the shape of Bradley Wiggins (who will not defend his title) and Fabian Cancellara. The German powerhouse however is not in the same pomp which once secured him the World title and could even struggle to impose himself upon the emerging leading lights of the time trial discipline. This year has not seen a wealth of victories against the clock to be forthcoming, failing to contest anything close to this distance at all this season; his national title competition being the most similar (like for many entering today). Despite crashing out of Le Tour de France while in yellow this summer and briefly suffering a viral setback shortly after his return, Martin should arrive here considerably fresher than several of his nearest rivals. The fact that this course allows him the chance to lay down sustained high power output will certainly play to his strengths, but it is the last 2km which will test him the most it seems. Though on paper he is not the same man who won this title a couple of years ago, if he summons up his best, the German will yet again be the man to topple in pursuit of victory.

Tom Dumoulin was the favourite of many to win this competition ahead of his performance at La Vuelta a España, but the efforts which he invested up to the penultimate day in an attempt to defend the leader’s jersey in Spain, will have no doubt left their mark upon the Dutchman heading into today’s race. He has however dominated the time trialing scene of the WorldTour in 2015, cementing his position as one of the strongest amongst the peloton against the clock. The course itself has caught several by surprise during the opening few contests, hinting at a tougher route which will favour Dumoulin’s strength. If he is not burnt out after his swashbuckling exploits in Spain, and can also take advantage when the terrain swings to his favour instead of Martin’s, he could force a tighter contest than anticipated here.

Rohan Dennis appears to have built his condition perfectly ahead of a convincing tilt at winning the rainbow bands this year. The Australian has made no secret of his intentions surrounding the contest, but he does perhaps lack a convincing depth of results at similar distances to confirm him as a gold medal contender. In fact, Dennis has never displayed a convincing aptitude for these long affairs and instead has a history of dominating prologues and short time trials which allow him to focus upon getting the power out, regardless of the consequence. Of all the riders billed as favourites for today, Dennis is the one most likely to see his predicted level increase on the day as a consequence of the preparation which he has focused upon ahead of the contest in question, though it remains to be seen if this will be enough to dispel the question marks surrounding him.

Taylor Phinney is America’s best chance of a medal in both the men’s road race and the individual time trial, an incredible thought given his recent upheaval. It is easy to imagine him entering this as the favourite had he enjoyed an injury free season’s worth of racing, such is his innate level of talent. Instead, the recent longterm layoff from the sport has left him earmarked as one of the biggest dark horses for a medal in Richmond. His return has not been one of active recovery since rejoining the peloton, instead he has arrived at a competitive level which has already won him a stage of the USA Pro Challenge and a gold medal as part of the BMC Team Time Trial squad which defended their rainbow bands last weekend. If there is one rider present on the entire start-list who is most likely to execute a spectacular rider, seemingly out of nowhere, it is the indomitable Taylor Phinney.

Vasil Kiryienka has been one of the most consistent competitors at the World Individual Time Trial Championship in recent years, outlining him as a serious contender for a podium spot once again. The Belarusian Sky rider possesses a reputation within the peloton for superhuman strength which sees him churning over Alpine passes in the big ring from bottom to top. This level of strength can only breed the necessary brute force required to nullify the lumps and bumps present on this course, utilising the final week of La Vuelta a España as a springboard into this race for the last three years. His condition as a result has been impressive thanks to this technique, leaving no reason to question whether or not this plan will work once again in 2015. Such is Kiryienka’s depth of talent, it seems he is able to medal on courses varying from the pan flat, to the steep roads which allow him to demonstrate his mountain climbing prowess upon; the possibility of that medal being gold however is not clear.

Alex Dowsett no doubt possesses the greatest education against the clock, the Essex rider grew up amongst Britain’s obsession with time trialling and is naturally gifted in this discipline to an incredible degree. However, despite having demonstrated this ability, his results in the WorldTour have never been consistent; a Giro d’Italia stage win when beating Bradley Wiggins his greatest success thus far on the road. However, he is the reigning Commonwealth Games Champion and showed his class when setting the official hour record earlier in the year too. The course appeals immensely to Dowsett, its blend of rolling terrain, smooth boulevards and moderately technical finale suit him particularly well and he cannot be ruled out from finally living up to expectation with the rainbow bands at stake.

Jurgen Van Den Broeck peculiarly decided that today’s race was to be his biggest goal for the entire season, switching tact from middling general classification hopeful and instead knuckling down to nail his time trialling efforts. His performances this year have been relatively consistent, often securing him a position inside the top ten at some major races. The solitary win this year against the clock came at his national competition, though he was not far off the pace when finishing fourth on a testing lumpy stage at this year’s Tour de Romandie. Factoring his seventh place on Stage 14 of this year’s Giro d’Italia, which was contested upon an almost 60km route, the Belgian remains an interesting prospect to monitor if nothing else.

Adriano Malori maintained all season that this was his major goal for the year, but it is difficult to see the Italian who is often a dominant on shorter courses, realistically challenging for medals in Richmond. Last year saw him secure a sixth place finish and he certainly has the talent to match many of his rivals here in terms of speed and power. However, much like Rohan Dennis, he has never done anything convincing over this sort of distance and subsequently looks to have the odds stacked against him to earn a medal.

Rasmus Quaade truly is an outsider to feature in the shake up for the medals, but the Dane genuinely has the talent and history to rise to the challenge at the World Championships. Last year he finished thirteenth in the competition on a course which failed to play to his strengths, whereas today’s is somewhat more suitable for the Cult Energy Pro Cycling rider. He finished fifth at this year’s European Games time trial over a 51.6km course and has a silver medal at this event as an under-23 rider, both sound indicators of the sort of level which he can compete at; there is nothing to say he cannot improve yet again here.

Outcome:

1st Rohan Dennis 2nd Tony Martin 3rd Vasil Kiryienka

Outsiders: Taylor Phinney & Rasmus Quaade

Le Tour de France – Stage 1 Preview

It may only seem like a flash since the last edition, but 2015’s Le Tour de France is now bearing down upon us after months of anticipation as to who the man to beat for the title shall be. Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana are all lining up for the grand depart in convincing form, ensuring the broadest battle of genuine contenders at Le Tour de France in recent memory. However, attention shall at least be afforded initially to those who are best against the clock; the three week grand tour opening with an individual time trial which sits just beyond a prologue in terms of distance. Given the immense depth of talent represented here in order to contest this opening race against time, a diverse range of time trial and prologue specialists shall do their utmost to snatch the first maillot jaune of this year’s Tour de France. 

Course:

The opening challenge of this race is not an overly testing affair, despite the fact that any time trial at this level of competition is bound to feel like a moment in hell for all those strong enough to make the teams’ cut for Le Tour. Overall, a 13.8km course around the Dutch city of Utrecht forms day one, something which should have little impact upon the final outcome of this grand tour but could see some general classification contenders concede around a minute. An unusual affair, the stage is beyond the distance of a prologue and is not a team time trial which often begins a grand tour; making this the longest time trial for an opening day at Le Tour since 2009’s 15km tear around Monaco which was won by Fabian Cancellara (followed closely by Alberto Contador).

A pancake flat ride, the 13.8km affair does contain numerous turns and a couple of roundabouts, though should remain easy enough to navigate in terms of its technical attributes. If approached correctly, many of the time trial specialists will have the skills to maintain their high speed despite the turns, meaning pundits could be surprised by some of the finishing times here. Due to a distance and style which opens up the chance of winning 2015’s inaugural yellow jersey to so many riders, an intense battle against both the clock and rivals alike should ensure an explosive curtain raiser to a Tour de France poised to be a classic.

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Contenders:

Home support shall be out in numbers to cheer on Tom Dumoulin in his quest to place the yellow jersey in Dutch hands as the peloton make their way down to France over the coming days. His performances as of late have been incredibly impressive, especially at Tour de Suisse where he defended leadership strongly, and even when conceding the lead, only did so after immense battling against pure climbers. Despite rumours of illness hampering his performance at the national time trial championships, it should be a given that Dumoulin has recovered well enough in order to contest this opening stage and seize upon the rare opportunity to wear the maillot jaune through local roads. At the Tour de Suisse he won both individual time trials, one of which was a prologue and will be unstoppable should he manage to bring the same form into Le Tour.

The bookies favourite for the day is Tony Martin, the German powerhouse renowned for his prowess against the clock, especially on courses which lack much in the way of technical worries such as this. Martin is extremely gifted, but the short distance should hamper him somewhat, making the likelihood and margin of victory here diminish considerably. Awkwardly placed just beyond what would be considered a prologue, Martin will do well to dominate proceedings, but there is no doubt that a podium should be assured here for one of this era’s best time trial experts.

Fabian Cancellara has unofficially announced that this is likely to be his last ever Tour de France, no doubt ratcheting up his motivation to not only win this stage, but to earn another yellow jersey before impending retirement. His season has certainly not been ideal, but despite this he mustered incredible showings at Tour de Suisse to earn 2nd and 3rd at the two time trials respectively. With talent against the clock so innate for the Swiss rider, there is no possibility of ruling him out of winning this opening day’s affair. Despite the writings of many hinting at a decline in regards to Cancellara’s performances against the clock, these are greatly exaggerated and would come as no surprise to see shattered under a vintage run from ‘Spartacus’.

The British support could be best placed in Movistar’s Alex Dowsett who appears to be an extremely interesting prospect upon this course and distance. He comes here on the back of yet another national time trial title, an hour record title bettered only by Bradley Wiggins and the fastest ever 10 mile time trial in the UK. This year is evidently progressing well so far for the Essex rider and his selection here as part of the Movistar team must surely be one which is aware of his odds of winning the opening day and taking yellow. The former Sky rider is playing down his chances, but considering Stage 1 exhibits echoes of the ‘Club 10’ which Dowsett still regularly contests at home, this has the components to be a career defining victory for him.

Adriano Malori is another hopeful for the Spanish team Movistar and has been ticking overly consistently in the last year or so at various time trial events. The Italian is incredibly powerful and this combination of short distance and reasonably simplistic course will allow him to really empty the tank to mount a serious charge on the yellow jersey. If he manages to maintain his top speed throughout the turns which shape the route, he is certainly one of the fastest present to contest this particular race against the clock.

BMC could have the leader’s jersey amongst their ranks at the end of the day if time trial specialist Rohan Dennis manages to execute one of his best ever efforts. He has been incredibly consistent in the last few seasons and seems to eternally secure podium placings; though wins are seldom against the top tier TT specialists. Much like Tom Dumoulin, Dennis is still continuing to develop as a rider, making him an unknown quantity to a certain extent given his growing abilities.

Of the general classification hopefuls, both Chris Froome and Alberto Contador certainly have the talent to chart high here, but will surely save their efforts for later in the week. Even on such a short stage as this, Thibaut Pinot and Nairo Quintana are both likely to worry about conceding too much time to their rivals this early, so will need to dig deeper than that of Froome and Contador to limit any losses. Though it is not ideal terrain, Tejay Van Garderen has the ability to perform well against such a challenge, offering him the possibility to gain a small margin over title rivals less consistent in time trials.

This short distance for the opening time trial also opens the door for riders such as Michal Kwiatkowski, Peter Sagan, Stephen Cummings and Matthias Brändle.

Outcome:

Though the eventual result should have little impact upon who stands atop the podium in Paris at the end of the three weeks, Stage One’s array of possible winners makes it a fascinating watch to see who will be this year’s first yellow jersey. On paper it should be a straight battle between the bookies favourite Tony Martin and the current form rider Tom Dumoulin; interestingly on a course which does not necessarily play totally to either of their strengths. Both are capable of maintaing high speeds for a long period of time, but this race is simply a case of leaving every possible watt out on the rode, something which could see other names rise to the top. The fact this course and distance is so similar to an archetypal British ‘Club 10’ makes Alex Dowsett well worth monitoring as a dark horse given his attributes and recent form. As stated above, the supposed decline of Fabian Cancellara is greatly exaggerated and his showings at the Tour de Suisse demonstrated this perfectly for any doubters. Seemingly making 2015 his final ever Tour de France, Cancellara shall be extremely motivated to not simply take another time trial win, but also another yellow jersey.

1st Tom Dumoulin 2nd Tony Martin 3rd Fabian Cancellara

Outsider: Alex Dowsett

 

Beat The Clock

Having already inflicted years of agony upon the peloton, Jens Voigt decided the last victim to feel the hurt would be time itself. Spokenforks is pleased to say that Jens broke the hour record with a ride of 51.115km, all the more impressive with the German icon’s 43rd birthday passing the day previous.

Throughout the record breaking attempt, Voigt looked a picture of poise and power as he circled the Swiss velodrome’s black line for the 60 minute session. Occasionally getting out of the saddle to ‘relieve the pressure’, Jens had the crowd cheering on his every pedal stroke alongside the custom made anthemic playlist of AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Metallica. He never looked in trouble for a split second and seemed reasonably fresh when celebrating with his parents after beating the record comfortably.

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Jens Is Done With Time.

Hopefully the publicity and craze around the new hour record will stir up a revival for the event, luring out the likes of Fabian Cancellara, Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin and even Alex Dowsett to have a go at setting their own record breaking times.

Though it was a successful day for all involved, a sad twinge was present as this signalled the last ‘hurrah’ for the legend known as ‘Jensie‘. However, there is no doubt that the world of cycling will soon feel the full force of Voigt’s hyperactive persona soon enough in a variety of roles.

Chapeau Jens Voigt, Chapeau.

Tour of Britain – Stage 8a

With only the time trial and a parade stage remaining at this year’s edition of The Tour of Britain, the overall win is still surprisingly wide open after a week’s worth of racing. Many riders are in with a chance of winning the Individual Time Trial, but everyone will be watching those who could take the overall win along with it.

Who To Watch:

Current leader Dylan van Baarle has every chance of defending his lead today in the competitive time trial. He has performed well this year at several prologue events similar to this and also finished 5th at the Dutch Time Trial Championships’ – he could be the shock winner.

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Michal Kwiatkowski is probably everyone’s favourite to put in a good showing and take the overall win all in one fell swoop. He won the Tour de Romandie prologue and a Volta ao Algarve ITT over similar distances this year, as well as being Polish Time Trial Champion.

Though often disregarded as a renowned time trialist, Ion Izagirre has every chance of putting in a great time today. Second at this year’s Spanish Nationals and third at the Vuelta a Andalucia prologue too – though he may have wanted a few bumps in the course.

He might be one of the most famous Time Trial specialists of all time, but it is hard to see Bradley Wiggins putting in much of a showing today. The man has looked relatively disinterested in the entire race thus far, though sprinting for intermediate time was a sign of willing, ‘Wiggo’ will have a hard time today. The course is too short for him to do great damage and those already ahead of him are confident of defending their leads because of this.

Tour-of-Britain-Stage-8a-Preview

It was devastating to watch Alex Dowsett come so close to defending the jersey heading into today, but sadly the Sussex terrain proved too much for him. However, the young Essex man is a pin-up for the British Time Trial scene and could fancy his chances today despite having dug so deeply the previously. For someone raised on Club 10s as a youth, he already knows an approximate pacing required to take the win, but whether he has enough left in the tank is another question.

Despite heading into The Tour of Britain with great form, Sylvain Chavanel has not quite done as much as people expected when it came to contesting the leader’s jersey. Regardless, the Frenchman is known for his abilities against the clock and has placed highly in such events throughout the season thus far – this includes winning the French Time Trial title.

A man who may upset focus upon the GC hopefuls is Jan Barta, the experience Czech has gained his best results this season from time trials, almost exclusively so. He has only failed to finish in the top 10 at one of his 7 time trials this year, winning or placing in the top 3 at five of them

Somebody who could place in the top 10 as a surprise is Marcel Kittel, a man who is no stranger to putting in impressive times over such short ‘prologue’ styled time trials. If it was not for the fact he is later required to take the win on Stage 8b, then it would almost be a guarantee that he would throw everything he has got at such a short TT.