Le Tour de France 2017

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 20 Preview

Course:

There is perhaps less pressure placed upon this individual time trial than many anticipated heading into the final week, but that does not mean to say stress levels will not be soaring as the general classification favourites do their utmost to stay upright and avoid any late mishaps before the Champs Élysées. The short 22.5km course based in Marseille draws its focus to the sole climb of the day, a steep rise to Notre-Dame de la Garde which lasts 1.7km and possesses a gradient of 9.5%. The following downhill section is technically demanding and could prove hazardous if conditions are reminiscent of those seen in Düsseldorf at the start of this grand tour three weeks ago. Though the yellow jersey is unlikely to change at this late stage of the race, the general classification still as some major battles, most crucially between Romain Bardet and Rigoberto Uran.

Le Tour de France 2017 - Stage 20

Contenders:

Chris Froome will not wish to walk away from this Tour de France having won the overall and not managed to secure a stage win in the process. He has not been his normally aggressive self during this race and has relied more than ever on the strength of his teammates to ensure rivals are kept on a tight leash. He maintains that his form is now peaking during this final week, aiming to dominant this affair and hammer home a strong advantage at last.

Primoz Roglic has enjoyed a brilliant time at the Tour de France, taking great confidence into this time trial, one which he will no doubt believe is within his grasp of winning. He may well lose time on the steep ascent of Notre-Dame de la Garde and the subsequent technical descent, but has the power to outperform major rivals on the more simplistic parts of the course. At the end of such an arduous race, there is a chance of Roglic having lost a degree of explosiveness, though much of the same can be suggested of many contenders today.

Stephen Cummings entered the race in unexpectedly blistering form, though has not been fortunate enough on this occasion to take a stage victory. Had he not invested such a great deal earlier in the race, then Cummings may well have been a greater favourite for stage honours in Marseille, the feeling being that he is unlikely to have sustained the level of strength with which he first started Le Tour de France.

Vasil Kiryienka is a former world champion at the individual time trial, though has not produced that degree of performance for a long time now, often finding himself at the call of his Team Sky teammates at major races such as these instead. Of the traditional time trialists in contention here, the Belarusian rider is the one most likely to have survived in a convincing enough shape to still produce close to his best. The course does not truly suit his talents, but at the tail end of a grand tour, fatigue is often a greater factor than simply what appears favourable on paper.

Tony Martin could perhaps be the greatest time trial rider of all time, yet the German hero has seen his performances ebb and flow more than ever recently, struggling to sustain the level of dominance we once saw from him several years ago. He was bitterly disappointed to have missed out on the win and yellow jersey in Düsseldorf at the start of Le Tour, no doubt pursuing this second opportunity against the clock to compensate. He will have to produce his best in order to win here, as he has invested plenty in helping his Katusha teammates and is now likely to have paid the price as a result; class is permanent however.

Others to consider are Jonathan CastroviejoStegan KüngMaciej Bodnar and Michal Kwiatkowski.

Outcome:

1st Chris Froome 2nd Primoz Roglic 3rd Vasil Kiryenka

Giro d'Italia 2017 Logo

Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 21 Preview

Course:

In recent years, individual time trials have done little to excite fans at grand tours, but the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia is poised to finish with a race against the clock which could potentially hand the maglia rosa over to one of four riders on the last day. Starting on the famous motor racing circuit of Monza, the stage comprises 29.3km of predominantly downhill racing, concluding at the capital’s extraordinary Duomo di Milano. There is no great amount of technical demands to be negotiated, nor does the topography offer anything in the way of climbs to separate the general classification big names on the last day. Of course, that is not to say it is simply a case of climbing upon the bike and finishing some 29.3.km later with immense ease. A handful of tight turns are present later in the course, which given how hard the frontrunners are expected to be pushing, are always capable of punishing the slightest lapse in concentration when cornering. A total of 75 seconds separates current maglia rosa owner Nairo Quintana, from the chasing pack of Vincenzo Nibali, Thibaut Pinot, Tom Dumoulin and Ilnur Zakarin; these five riders capable of finishing in almost any order after the time trial. Regardless of who does succeed in securing 2017’s centenary edition of the Giro d’Italia, the script for Stage 21 is far from certain.

Giro d'Italia 2017 Stage 21 Preview

Contenders:

Tom Dumoulin has had to dig extremely deep in order to limit his losses in this final week of racing, yet has successfully placed himself within touching distance of his first overall grand tour stage victory. Just how much energy he has had to invest is the greatest question mark hanging above him, potentially hampering his efforts here and leaving him just short of the maglia rosa. The Dutchman’s prowess against the clock has been almost unmatchable in recent years, though this course does not provide the rolling terrain and technical nature which has often seen Dumoulin bury his opposition. Regardless, his talent for this discipline is indomitable, and the motivation of winning the pink jersey can only serve has added fuel en route to victory.

Thibaut Pinot produced another aggressive display during yesterday’s stage, culminating in his first Giro d’Italia stage win, as predicted by Spokenforks beforehand. Of those currently challenging for the overall win, Pinot appears to be in the strongest condition in this decisive week of racing and seems the one most likely to overachieve on Stage 21. Despite having previously been seen as a weak time trialist, the French rider has worked hard on this skill, now finding himself as reigning national time trial champion and winner of Stage 3’s individual time trial at 2016’s Tour de Romandie. Though he would favour a route with at least a few hills, being a larger rider could prove beneficial on this flat power based course, a second place finish overall is certainly achievable; perhaps even more.

Vincenzo Nibali did not produce the sort of ruthlessly cunning display which has often seen him snatch victory from the jaws of defeat at major races like these. Now sitting a total of 39 seconds back on race leader Nairo Quintana, he will be looking over his shoulder at Thibaut Pinot and Tom Dumoulin, both of whom could perform strongly enough to push the defending champion off the podium. He has ridden his concluding stages with a cagey mentality, making it difficult to gauge what Nibali might be able to muster with the pink jersey at stake. This course is not well suited to his attributes, yet there should be enough to just about keep his toes upon the Milanese podium.

Nairo Quintana seems the rider most likely to lose out on Stage 21, the Movistar captain far from being enamoured with the rigours of flat individual time trials. The Colombian has not succeeded in using the final mountain stages to build enough of a buffer to his rivals heading into this time trial, now finding himself with Tom Dumoulin and Thibaut Pinot placed within the margin of loss which Quintana is expected to suffer during the final stage. It will be extremely difficult to defend a modest 43″ and 53″ lead to the Frenchman and Dutchman respectively, especially on this mid-distance route, lacking anything resembling favourable terrain for Quintana; slipping off the podium lurks ominously in Milano.

Ilnur Zakarin was a major protagonist yesterday, igniting the fuse upon the final climb of the Giro d’Italia, author of the attack which culminated in Thibaut Pinot winning the stage and Tom Dumoulin losing time to all major rivals. The Russian was a competent rider in time trials earlier in his career, but has now chosen to hone his talents in the mountains instead. Despite this factor, he now looks to be one of the sharpest riders in this final week and will be confident of turning in a performance which harks back to his previous prowess against the clock. It will be difficult to progress further up the general classification on Stage 21, his greatest chance of doing so being a plummeting Nairo Quintana falling down to fifth.

Vasil Kiryienka could prove to be the man to beat on the last stage of the 100th Giro d’ItaliaTeam Sky having undoubtedly looked after their Belarusian powerhouse with the intention of adding another stage win to their collection. The stoney faced rider will not have to worry about any climbs or particularly technical segments here, focusing instead on generating huge amounts of watts and sustaining them throughout the 29.3km course. He crashed in the final corner of the first individual time trial, yet still held the fastest time for a while and will now likely view that error as motivation to take the win in Milano.

Bob Jungels will be expected to recover the maglia bianca from Adam Yates on the final stage off the Giro d’Italia, the young rider being renowned for his ability against the clock since his early days. Many anticipated that he would begin to diminish in the concluding stages, yet the Luxembourg time trial champion has managed to match the majority of big names when required and may even push for the win here. Though not truly playing to his strengths, he appears comparatively fresh to others, which may prove enough to deliver the victory.

Those who may challenge for the last stage honours on offer at 2017’s Giro d’Italia are Luis Leon Sanchez, Manuel QuinziatoJos van Emden and Tobias Ludvigsson.

Outcome:

1st Vasil Kiryienka 2nd Tom Dumoulin 3rd Thibaut Pinot

Final General Classification:

1st Tom Dumoulin 2nd Thibaut Pinot 3rd Vincenzo Nibali

Giro d'Italia 2017 Logo

Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 10 Preview

Course:

The first of this year’s two decisive individual time trials at the Giro d’Italia is to be tackled on Stage 10, taking the shape of a rather long 39.8km course, covering a range of technically demanding roads from Foligno to Montefalco. The opening 12km – 13km of the time trial will benefit those who specialise in the purest form of racing against the clock, seeking to churn huge amounts of power as they sail through relatively simple roads. However, it is from this point onwards that the thoroughbred time trialists may see their ambitions clipped by those able to take advantage of the hills and technical sections, producing a varied mixture of contenders for Stage 10 honours.

Giro d’Italia 2017 – Stage 10 Preview

Contenders:

Tom Dumoulin continues to impress when having to compete with the far more talented climbers at this race, demonstrating his abilities when finishing behind mountain goat Nairo Quintana by only 24″ on Stage 9, after producing another well judged ride up a climb which broke many contenders. The Dutchman has become one of the leading lights in time trialing during recent years, though has now admittedly switched focus to grand tours, yet has managed to avoid diminishing his form against the clock in pursuit of better showings uphill. He may not be as powerful upon the shorter and more simple TT courses, but for Stage 10’s mixture of power and precision, Dumoulin will be expected to turn in a dominant performance which will secure the maglia rosa; for what may prove a longer time than many expect.

Bob Jungels is another rider who will view the day’s course with eager eyes, no doubt seeing the combination of opening power section and following tricky run to home as ideal territory from which to secure a stage victory. The opening week demonstrated how strong Jungels is at Giro d’Italia so far and he will have sought to conserve energy ascending Blockhaus compared to his major rival for today Tom Dumoulin. A slightly fresher Bob Jungels could prove a serious challenger for the talented Tom Dumoulin, pushing the latter’s skills all the way to line if he wishes to win both stage and maglia rosa in Montefalco.

Vasil Kiryienka could prove Team Sky’s best chance of immediately salvaging something from 2017’s Giro d’Italia, after team leader Geraint Thomas saw his general classification chances scythed down when hemorrhaging time after being brought down by a parked motorbike. The Belarusian rider is extremely talented when it comes to this distance and choice of terrain, but is unlikely to have entered the race with much freedom to consider winning on Stage 10. Regardless, if given permission to totally commit himself to winning this stage, Kiryienka is capable of turning in a storming ride without a great deal of preparation.

Geraint Thomas will be the other option for Team Sky to ease their wounds after the disaster of Stage 9, the Welshman potentially encouraged to channel his frustrations into a stage winning performance here. It is easy to forget how gifted Thomas has previously proven to be against the clock, mostly as a result of playing lieutenant to both Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome for so long now, yet that does not mean he cannot still rise to the challenge. The course does in fact suit him relatively strongly and there is no doubt that he will not wish to ride the rest of the Giro d’Italia simply for the sake of finishing, especially as he has never looked stronger on a bike as of right now.

Victor Campenaerts has enjoyed some impressive results during individual time trials recently, rising rapidly beyond people’s previous expectations and outperforming some highly regarded specialists along the way. Another rider who is expected to enjoy the nature of the course, a strong showing here is well within his abilities, though his responsibilities to captain Steven Kruijswijk could stand in the way today.

Others likely to challenge the top ten are Ilnur ZakarinAndrey AmadorTobias LudvigssonTanel Kangert and Vincenzo Nibali.

Outcome:

1st Vasil Kiryienka 2nd Tom Dumoulin 3rd Geraint Thomas

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

Rio Olympics Individual Time Trial 2016 Preview

Olympic Games Rio 2016 – Men’s Individual Time Trial Preview

Course:

A reduced schedule of riders will contest 2016’s Olympic Individual Time Trial after a crash strewn road race last weekend left several nursing road rash and broken bones. The 54.6km course which is set to decide 2016’s gold medal winner mostly comprises two laps of the Grumari Grota Funda ascents, bookended by two relatively simple flat sections at the start and finish. Riders will face the Grumari first, a 1.3km climb which averages 9.4% and features a leg-breaking ramp of double-digits which strikes a dizzying 24% before the top. The Grota Funda is longer at 2.1km, but its average gradient of 6.8% is a much more consistent affair which only briefly touches 10% towards the summit. These two ascents are then repeated, before a final ride down to the coastline will allow many to lay down the final watts ahead of the finish line.

Rio Olympics Road Race 2016 Preview

Contenders:

Chris Froome crushed his opposition against the clock at this year’s Tour de France at each time of asking and arrives here as the favourite for many to perform best on a course which leans in favour of those comfortable with climbing. It is unlikely that he shall be at his absolute best for this race, but that is likely to still be enough to earmark Froome as a potential medalist in Rio.

Tom Dumoulin seemed destined to walk away with gold today from the start of the season, but a seemingly innocuous crash late in this year’s Tour de France inflicted a broken wrist and thus raised huge doubts as to whether the Dutchman would even compete. This mixed course of power flats and steep climbs is ideal terrain for Dumoulin and it is difficult to see anyone as well suited to this as the peloton’s leading time trial specialist. The greatest concern is obviously his recovery from the broken wrist, a factor which could become more problematic as the strain of this 54.6km race takes its toll on the demanding aerodynamic position required here.

Vasil Kiryienka is the reigning World Champion of this discipline and has a well documented history of peaking perfectly for major occasions. The Belarusian rider may not have impressed a great deal this year, but his commitment to the orders of Team Sky and his race leaders often limits his efforts when it comes to these contests. Today however is a totally different story, Kiryienka provided the freedom in Rio to demonstrate why he is the current World Champion.

Rohan Dennis has long focused upon performing well at Rio and appears to have enjoyed a relatively neat lead up to this race. Dennis performs well on this type of contrasting profile, giving him the opportunity to lay down the power at each end, while showcasing his climbing prowess during the larger mid-sections. He may be viewed as somewhat of an outsider, but given his incredible intentions to peak for today, it would be foolish to think he cannot cause an upset.

Fabian Cancellara‘s farewell season has done little to shine the kind of glory upon the Swiss legend we have grown accustomed to before he hangs up his wheels for life. He is another rider who specialises in reaching peak condition for a single day in the calendar, with this being one of the few remaining chances of major honours in his career, there is no doubt that he will have invested the utmost in challenging for a medal in Rio. The climbs are tough in places, though their short length will encourage him to pace the ascents and focus upon gaining the maximum amount of time during the downhill segues into the flat sections.

Tony Martin is well deserving of a mention here, even though there has been little evidence to suggest backing him to victory at the expense of all highlighted above. The German time trial specialist is no longer the dominant force he once was, yet he has maintained that Olympic gold is still a great ambition of his in 2016. Martin has improved his climbing ability year on year, without having to concede a great deal of engine power to do so, equipping him with a perfect set of skills to perform well today.

Other names who could all cause a stir at the top of the classification by the end of the race include; Taylor PhinneyIon Izagirre, Jonathan CastroviejoGeraint Thomas and Nelson Oliveira.

Outcome:

1st Vasil Kiryienka 2nd Chris Froome 3rd Tom Dumoulin

Le Tour de France 2016 Preview

LE TOUR DE FRANCE – STAGE 13 PREVIEW

Course:

Yesterday’s baffling finale will still have people scratching their heads while Stage 13’s crucial time trial kicks off, this race against the clock poised as ever to have a say in who will walk away with 2016’s yellow jersey in Paris. Starting in Bourg-Saint-Andéol and finishing at La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc, the 37.5km individual time trial takes in an uphill start and finish, while a large plateau and sharp downhill section forms the rest of this course which appears to be an open affair. There are no sustained climbs of serious gradients, so the general classification frontrunners shall not be able to utilise such climbing skills, whereas those who are comfortable grinding away big gears will fancy this. However, this is not drag race from one end to the other, much of the course requires changes of cadence and gearing; a testing demand that many struggle with.

Tour de France Stage 13 Preview 2016

Contenders:

Tom Dumoulin has grown immeasurably in the last couple of years to become one of the best time trial riders in the world, a fact made even more amazing by his parallel rise as a competitive name in the mountains too. The Dutchman has already picked up a stage victory at 2016’s Le Tour de France against the odds, but it is today’s offering which will truly catch his eye and it is Dumoulin who might prove to be toughest time of all to beat on Stage 13.

Fabian Cancellara is sailing ever closer to his retirement and is yet to really grab the marquee win which would seal his career satisfyingly. The Swiss legend has proven to be quite anonymous up until now, though the expectation is that he shall break cover on Stage 13 in an attempt to add one further Tour de France stage victory to his tally. The course suits him well enough, likely to offer him the terrain to gain sufficient time during the mid-point, before then rising to the finish with enough in hand so as to avoid burying himself.

Chris Froome will be pleased to return to his saddle after yesterday culminated with him sprinting up Mont Ventoux as the result of a moto stopping unexpectedly, sending him crashing into the back of former teammate Richie Porte. The profile is not ideal territory for Froome to truly dominate, but there is no doubt that he will be fired up to compensate for such a farcical display and will give it everything as a result.

Tony Martin continually progresses in the mountains, but many worry that such gains uphill have resulted in losses of his prowess against the clock. Admittedly, Martin has changed his career goals since being a World Champion time trialist, though you can never truly discard a rider who has achieved such a plethora of successes in this discipline.

Thibaut Pinot was long marked as being unable to realistically challenge for a grand tour due to his inability to compete in these time trials. This notion is no longer relevant though, as the Frenchman has not simply just improved his riding in this respect, but has now even won time trials. The course suits him reasonably well, if not perfectly and his goals at Le Tour now lean strongly towards stage wins. Given how much time he has now lost on the general classification, a good showing here will do little in regards to the yellow jersey, so he may decide to save his efforts and pursue a mountaintop stage win instead.

Richie Porte will be extremely frustrated after yesterday’s unexpected turn of events and will seek to deliver justice in a discipline which he normally excels at. Despite his amazing form right now, two bouts of misfortune have disguised this fact and he enters Stage 13 surprisingly underestimated. The rolling terrain plays into his hands nicely, while an uphill finish should really allow the BMC captain to make gains ahead of the finish line.

Tejay Van Garderen has continued to climb up the general classification with little fuss, now finding himself within a couple of minutes of the yellow jersey without having produced any flashy displays of riding. The American has fallen short of expectation in the recent years at the major grand tours, but 2016 sees a more assured Van Garderen, one who will fancy the odds of producing a convincing time trial on Stage 13 to climb yet further up the general classification.

Vasil Kiryienka is the reigning World Champion in this discipline and would no doubt like to secure a stage win at the world’s biggest race while wearing the rainbow stripes. However, Sky are ruthless in their meticulous planning of how to win a three week grand tour and it is hard to have seen them scheduling in a stage win for Kiryienka; a huge effort they are unwilling to allow of a man crucial to Froome’s success in the mountains.

Stephen Cummings has already demonstrated his immense form at this year’s Tour de France by taking a stage win and often placing himself in the battle for the day’s breakaway. These displays do make it easy to forget though that the British rider is somewhat of a time trial specialist and deserves a credible mention as a rider who could certainly find his way onto the podium. The downside of course, is that the consequence of his earlier efforts may have drained him and thus makes putting in a fully committed performance tougher than expected.

Outcome:

1st Tom Dumoulin 2nd Richie Porte 3rd Chris Froome

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