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RACE PREVIEW: World Individual Time Trial Championships

The race against the clock takes place on Tuesday 24th September and as expected a star-studded field has assembled to do battle for the coveted rainbow stripes.

The Course

The 30km course from Ripon to Harrogate is touted to be a fast and open one, suited to the powerhouses. The opening 12km are flat before the road starts to gradually undulate on the approach to Harrogate. The finishing circuit sees slightly more taxing terrain as well as an uphill drag to the finish. It will be a course that requires a good judgement of effort and favour riders who can push big power.

The Contenders

Naturally, all eyes will be firmly on defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten who will be gunning to take her third consecutive World Championship time trial title this weekend (a feat only the great Jeannie Longo as achieved). Van Vleuten has shown imperious time trial form this year, having been undefeated in the discipline as well as comfortably winning the Dutch national championships. Although the pre race favourite, van Vleuten faces some stiff competition not least from her own teammates.

Having finished runner up to her compatriot for the last two years, Anna van der Breggen, will be looking to see if she can finally take the top step. The current road world champion showed impressive strength in Plouay last month and poses a big threat to van Vleuten’s title defence. Rounding out the Dutch team is Lucinda Brand who comes in to replace the injured Ellen van Dijk. Brand will be looking to improve on her 6th place from 2018 and will be hoping she can contribute to a consecutive world’s podium sweep by the Netherlands.

However the Dutch women will have to fend off a strong challenge from the American contingent. The trio, led by former world champion (2016 and 2008), Amber Neben, will be hoping they can take victory in Yorkshire. The 44 year old Californian has focused primarily on the discipline this year and has dominated time trials in North America. The current USA national champion won the Chrono de Gatineau by nearly a minute as well as taking an impressive victory in the Redlands Classic earlier in the year.

Team USA will also have podium ambitions with their ‘young phenomenon’ Chloe Dygert-Owen. Dygert-Owen, who did the ‘double’ as a junior at the 2015 World Championships, has had a stellar year and in August won the Colorado classic in emphatic style. (4 out of 4 stage wins, the overall as well as points, mountains and youth competition wins). Coached by former Olympic and world champion, Kristen Armstrong, we can expect Dygert-Owen to have prepared meticulously and be arriving in Yorkshire ready to take her first world’s senior medal.

If two podium contenders wasn’t enough, Leah Thomas, will also be vying for the top spots. Thomas who is the current Pan American Games TT champion and the 2018 Chrono Champenois champion will be looking to improve on her 5th place from Austria last year.

Also looking to challenge the Dutch reign will be the German trio of Lisa Klein, Mieke Kröger and Lisa Brennauer. National champion, Klein, has had a great year finishing 2nd in the European TT Championships and demonstrated her time trialling power in successful breakaways at both Lotto Thuringen Ladies Tour and the Boels Ladies Tour. Brennauer will also be a medal contender and is a rider that can never be overlooked in time trials. The 2014 world champion showed she is ready for Yorkshire with her recent win in the TT and the General Classification at the WNT Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta.

The host nation will be pinning their hopes on Alice Barnes and Hayley Simmonds. The pair have both had top 10’s in European time trials this year and will be looking to take advantage of home support.

Other riders to watch out for include Norway’s Vita Heine and Marlen Reusser of Switzerand. Reusser is another rider who solely concentrates on time trials and having won the European Games and the Ljubljana-Domžale-Ljubljana TT this year as well as recently podiuming at the Chrono Champenois she is definitely an outsider to look out for.

Summary

When:

24th September, 14:40 – 16:30 (BST)

Where:

Ripon to Harrogate, England

What:

30km ITT

Who to watch:

Annemiek van Vleuten *****

Anna ven der Breggen ****

Chloe Dygert-Owen ***

Amber Neben ***

Lisa Klein ***

Top Outsider:

Marlen Reusser

TV Coverage:

BBC Red button (UK) Eurosport (Europe) FuboTV (USA) Flobikes (Canada)



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