By David Hunter
Bergen – Mount Floyen 31km ITT
Time for another battle against the clock.
The riders are faced with a rolling 27.5km, before a big climb up to the finish. The organisers have significantly reduced the length of this TT, compared to other World Championships, but they have introduced a climb. This really does mix things up a bit.
To end a TT with 3.4km at 9.1% is cruel. The final 500m is only at 5.2%, meaning the rest for the climb is much harder. We have two 500m sections of 10%, something that the riders will not be looking forward to tackling on a TT bike.
Most of the riders will be looking at ditching their TT bike at the bottom of the climb, favouring a lighter road bike. A slick change will be very important as riders look to cut down on time lost. Expect the vast majority of riders to change bikes.
Lots of rain, terrible news for the race. At least it looks like we’ll have the same conditions for all riders. The poor weather is good news for some riders, those that are willing to take big risks, could well end up with a medal.
Tom Dumoulin – despite being a brilliant TT rider, his best performance in the Worlds was bronze in 2014. The Dutchman will be looking to put that record to bed, after a wonderful season. He skipped the Vuelta, so he could focus on this race. Winning the rainbow jersey has been his goal for months. His TT performances have taken a little dip this season, a direct impact of him losing weight to become a GT winner. Saying that, he did take a hugely impressive TT win at the Giro. He starts the race as the overwhelming favourite.
Chris Froome – arrives after taking the Vuelta title. Froome will love the look of the climb, but he needs to limit his losses to Dumoulin, on the flat. He won the 40km TT in the Vuelta, something that will give him confidence for this race. The rain should be good news for him, as he will be using the best equipment possible. Remember how Team Sky dominated the wet TT in the Tour de France.
Rohan Dennis – the Aussie is enjoying an excellent TT season, taking 4 wins. His World Championships record is even worse than Dumoulin, 5th place is his best result. Dennis has a huge engine for the flat and can also climb very well. His eyes will be firmly set on the podium and he will be dreaming of gold.
Vasil Kiryienka – the world champion in 2015 and second in 2016, the Belarusian usually saves his best results for these championships. He’s now 36 years old and this could well be his last real effort at another world title. He is one of the few riders rumoured not to be changing bike, it will be interesting to see if he regrets that decision.
Primoz Roglic – seems to be struggling for some form, right at the wrong moment. He’s enjoyed a stunning season, taking wins in the Tour de France, Romandie and the Basque Country. He returned to racing at the Tour of Britain, but struggled due to a cold. He would have wanted better preparation for this race. Another concern is the habit that Jumbo riders have developed of not going well in wet TTs.
Tony Martin – the defending champion, can he win a 5th title? His 2016 season wasn’t great, but he hit form just at the right time. 2017 has followed a similar pattern, with a number of disappointing performances. Can he suddenly turn things around? I would think that the climb is going to be too hard for him.
Stefan Kung – the rising star of TTs. 2017 has been a breakthrough season for him, winning the TT in the BinckBank Tour. Remember, he was very unlucky to finish 2nd in the opening TT in the Tour de France. The problem for him is the final climb, I think it’s just beyond him. He should still be good enough to aim for the top 5.
It will be Dumoulin v Dennis. Looking at how he’s performed in 2017, it looks like a rainbow jersey for Tom Dumoulin.
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