By David Hunter
They are about to push the limit of physical ability, for around 50 minutes. No one enjoys this, but some thrive on it.
The course can be split into fifths, the opening three parts, is easy. Long straights, flat roads and not many corners.
The final two parts, is full of climbing, descending and corners.
This is a course that has little bit of everything, but the opening 30km is a chance for Tony Martin, to put massive time into his rivals. Big Tony, will put it into his biggest gear and grind!
The climbs don’t look anything special, but after riding your guts out for 30km, you try a 5km climb! The climbs have a maximum gradient of 10%, which will interest a few of the riders. The only problem, is Tony Martin is climbing better than ever. He isn’t going to give up his title, without a fight.
But is there a question mark over Tony Martin’s form?
Certainly, losing the TTT doesn’t look great, but he can’t be blamed. His team were weaker than before, so it’s more to do with the other riders, rather than him. His last ITT was stage 10 of the Vuelta, where he beat Cancellara by 9 seconds(before a time penalty). Was that a great performance?
He was a DNF on stage 15, the exact same point where he quit the race, in 2013. Back then, he went on to beat Wiggins by 46 seconds, over 57.9km. Notice a cut of over 10km from 2013 until now. This should bring the times, closer together.
What about the other favourites?
Bradley Wiggins will be the main danger. Sir Brad, warmed up for this with a very impressive TT win, in the Tour of Britain. He averaged 53.7km/h, for almost 9km. This was a highly impressive performance, and extremely quick! A focused and motivated Wiggins, is a man to fear. He’s been able to prepare quietly, for this, and put in a good ride in the TTT. Challenging Martin will be very hard, but Wiggins is capable.
Rohan Dennis has started to challenge the big boys. He’s made a big step up, this season, but will be frustrated with too many second places(5 so far). He left the Vuelta with wonderful form and won the TTT with BMC, on Sunday. He has a big chance of making the top 5, but will want to make the podium.
Adriano Malori has had a wonderful season. He finally won TTs against the big riders, in San Luis, Tirreno and the Vuelta. He impressed Alex Dowsett with his ride in the TTT and he seems to have left the Vuelta with great legs. Riding on team home soil, will act as an incentive and the italian will have his eyes firmly fixed on the podium. He will go well in the opening 30km, but lose time on the climbs.
Similarly, Tom Dumoulin, has come a long way this season. His TT performance has been incredibly consistent and he took a massive win, at the Eneco Tour. The Dutchman, is currently in great form but might be distracted by the road race. He hasn’t finished higher than 6th, in a TT all season.
I don’t see anyone else capable of challenging for the title. Looking to feature in the top 10, is a list of experienced contenders: Kiryienka, Quaade, Siutsou, Barta, Sergent, Dowsett, Vandewalle, Talansky, Cataldo, Tuft, Van Garderen, Bodnar and Chavanel.
As ever, the weather could play a factor. As it stands we do have a risk of rain, more so for the later starters. All the big names go out late, so they’ll have the same conditions, but Tobias Ludvigsson is second man off, at 13:34. This is a full 2 hours before Tony Martin starts. If the weather changes, Ludvigsson has a chance of a big result.
I think this is going to be close. I get the impression, Tony Martin is not in top form and Wiggins will push him all the way. I’m going for an upset, with Wiggins claiming gold.
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