The battle for the rainbow jerseys has officially started. From today, September 24, till Sunday, September 27, the best of the best will meet head to head for the privilege to be called a world champion. The UCI Road World Championships was originally set to happen in Aigle-Martigny (Switzerland) but the worldwide pandemic changed everyone’s plans. The constraints affected everybody and everything, and even the postponed event held at the iconic Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari is no exception. Unfortunately, only the Elite races will be held during the four days.
The time trials
The time trial specialists will be the first in action. Women’s race starts on Thursday, September 24, men will ride on Friday. The course, with no more than 200 m of elevation, is 31.7 km long and the route is the same for both gender groups. It starts and finishes at the famous Imola racetrack.
The question regarding the women’s edition of the race is simple. Can anyone stop Chloé Dygert? The USA-born rider won in 2019 and put 1:32 between herself and Anna van der Breggen who finished second. Annemiek van Vleuten finished third last year but won’t start today because of a broken wrist. The Dutch still have Ellen van Dijk who finished second at the European championships earlier this year (van der breggen won). However, Chloé Dygert seems to be the safe bet here.
Filippo Ganna is the man to watch during the men’s time trial on Friday. The Ineos-Grenadiers rider is looking to take away the jersey from his team-mate Rohan Dennis. However, Dennis cannot be counted out. And Wout van Aert and Stefan Kung might have a say in the matter as well. It’s a bit difficult to predict this one, but our money is on the Italian gentleman, Mr Ganna.
The Road Races
There are two steep ascents on the course of the road race, Mazzolano and Cima Gallisterna (10% on average) and the whole course is 28.8km long. The women will do five laps (143km and 2,800m of climbing), the men will cover the sequence nine times (258.2km and nearly 5,000m of climbing).
As Annemiek van Vleuten will be sadly missing due to wrist injury, her rainbow jersey will be up for grabs on Saturday, September 26. Anna van der Breggen is the top candidate here as she was one of the few pros who were able to beat van Vleuten this year. The Dutch seem to have it in the bag. The rest of the world puts their hope in Amalie Dideriksen from Denmark. However, our money is on the Dutch.
Among the men the course should suit Julian Alaphilippe perfectly. Good climbing abilities, impressive downhills, fair amount of punch. Marc Hirschi is a similar story and cannot be counted out. However, there is one rider we want to mention above all others. Wout van Aert shines on every possible course and surface. His performance during the Tour was unbelievable. And while it may be more a choice of the heart than reason, we choose him for the win on Sunday.
Do you agree with our predictions? Who do you want to win the UCI Road World Championships ? And who do you think will win? Let us know!