Who wants a rainbow jersey?
This is the question at the heart of the UCI Road World Championships, which take place in Flanders on Sunday.
Dutch supremo Anna van der Breggen had the right to wear one over the other on the road this season after securing a double time trial on the road at the last edition at Imola. However, the 31-year-old, who will retire at the end of the season and take on the role of sporting director at SD Worx, will not compete in the women’s time trial and has yet to be confirmed for the others. trials.
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Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe and Italy’s Filippo Ganna try to defend their men’s road racing and time trial titles respectively. But they will face a rigorous scrutiny from last year’s bridesmaid Wout van Aert, who returns home after finishing second of two events in 2020.
Former champions Mark Cavendish and Lizzie Deignan, as well as Tokyo 2020 mountain bike champion Tom Pidcock, are the headliners of the British squad.
When are the 2021 UCI Road World Championships?
The UCI Road World Championships start in Flanders on September 19 and run until September 26.
There are 11 races on the menu in Belgium: five individual time trials, five road races and the second broadcast of the mixed team relay.
UCI Road World Championships: full program
Individual time trial
- September 19: Men Elite – Knokke-Heist in Bruges (43.3 km)
- September 20: Men U23 – Knokke-Heist in Bruges (30.3 km)
- September 20: Women Elite – Knokke-Heist in Bruges (30.3 km)
- September 21: Junior women – Knokke-Heist in Bruges (19.3 km)
- September 21: Junior men – Knokke-Heist to Bruges (22.3km)
Mixed team relay
- September 22: Mixed Elite – Knokke-Heist to Bruges (44.5 km)
Road racing events
- September 24: Junior men – Leuven to Leuven (121.4km)
- September 24: Men U23 – Antwerp to Louvain (160.9km)
- September 25: Junior women – Leuven to Leuven (75km)
- September 26: Women Elite – Antwerp to Leuven (157.7 km)
- September 26: Men Elite – Antwerp to Louvain (268.3km)
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What is the mixed team relay?
The mixed relay sees teams of three men and three women compete in a team time trial. The men’s teams start from Knokke-Heist and start the charge towards Bruges, with the women’s teams taking over after 22.5 km and completing the last 22 km.
The Netherlands won the first edition in 2019 in Yorkshire as the event was suspended last year as the event was hastily moved from Switzerland to Italy due to the Covid pandemic. 19.
Who is on the male start list?
In the men’s road race, Wout van Aert is the big favorite of Belgian hosts and comes in stellar form, having won the overall Tour of Britain standings, while Remco Evenepoel offers the Belgians a different option. However, the reigning champion Julien alaphilippe has had a series of near misses in 2021 and will be desperate to defend the Rainbow Stripes.
Mathieu van der Poel has barely been spotted since his fall from mountain biking racing at the Olympics, but topped the Port of Antwerp Epic on his return earlier in September and will inevitably be closely watched by the entire peloton.
Elsewhere, Slovenia has the last two Grand Tour winners, Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic, and the potential dark horse Matej Mohoric, while Italy Sonny colbrelli comes after being recently crowned European champion.
Britain’s hopes will likely hover between Tom pidcock, Ethan Hayter and Marc Cavendish, depending on the course of the race. Pidcock won De Brabantse Pijl earlier this season on similar ground, while Hayter finished just behind Van Aert in the recent Tour of Britain. Luke Rowe, Jake Stewart, Fred Wright, Ben Swift and Connor Swift will support them in the road race.
In the time trial, the event will boil down to one question: is it Philippe Ganna in fine fettle ? If the Italian is, he is fundamentally unstoppable. But the signs of the European Championships and the Olympics are that it is not, paving the way for its usurpation.
Van Aert seems the most obvious candidate, if he’s ready to bury himself before the road race, while Evenepoel and the Swiss Stefan Kung are other contenders. Hayter and Dan Bigham will compete for GB.
Olympic champion Roglic will not participate in the battle of TT while Pogacar and Jan Tratnik are recruited for Slovenia.
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Who is on the female start list?
The Dutch super squad has only one task: not to let Anna kiesenhofer out of their field of vision.
After the Austrian’s surprise victory at the Olympics, an imposing orange quartet will seek to redeem themselves from the defending champion Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten, Marianne Vos, Demi Vollering and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak in the group of eight people responsible for obtaining the rainbow jersey.
Brittany Lizzie Deignan, the champion six years ago, will line up with Anna Shackley, Alice Barnes, Anna Henderson, Pfeiffer Georgi and Joss Lowden.
With Van der Breggen skipping her defense against the clock, her Dutch teammate and Olympic champion Van Vleuten is the standout name on the pitch.
Recent European Champion Marlen Reusser should compete for Switzerland, with Joss lowden and Pfeiffer Georgi on the way to Brittany.
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