UCI Road World Championships

 

Having raced with all of the main contenders during her career, which included a two year contract with Lotto Belisol, she has a unique insight into the riders and the race, so here are her thoughts.

 

Lizzie Armitstead wins National Road Race

 

The course selected for the race is always so important, as it will favour some riders more than others, so I’m going to give a quick overview of the terrain before I get onto the main contenders.

 

Riders will face eight laps of a 16.2km circuit in Richmond city centre, giving a total of 129.6km. Each lap consists of three climbs; Libby Hill is the first of the three and it is a narrow, twisty, cobbled climb which is immediately followed by a fast descent.  After three hard turns in short succession, the riders will tackle a second, partially cobbled, climb up 23rd Street.  This is a short but sharp (max 20%) ascent that leads to the final 300m climb up Governor Street.  The finish will come after 680m false flat and there are no corners in this final 680m.

 

I honestly believe that (like so many courses) it is much harder than it appears on paper.  The last section of the lap is not only energy sapping, with Spring Classic style climbs, it is also very technical and so it is likely to lead to breaks in the peloton and will provide opportunities for those willing to take risks.

 

Emma Johansson can never be counted out

 

I think that the each lap will see the peloton shrink in size; the strongest and most technical riders will form the peloton that will yield the podium.  Riders I would expect to see included in this selection, barring misfortune, are Armistead, Johansson, Van De Breggen, D’Hoore, Van Dijk, Olds, Stevens, Ferrand-Prevot, Moolman-Pasio, Longo-Borghini, Gaurnier, Cecchini, Bronzini, Brand and Hausler.  In the absence of Marianne Vos there are many riders lining up determined to grasp this opportunity with both hands, genuinely knowing that they have a chance.  Coming off highs will be riders like Johansson, Der Breggen and Armistead thanks to recent wins they all have under their belts.  Indeed Johansson will be soaring mentally, knowing that her recent Lotto tour victory was a result of a Swedish team effort.  In fact Armistead could be the only one who hasn’t ridden in recent months with the GB team selection; this has never affected her in the past though.  Of course, the American team will be super motivated on home soil too.

 

Note that in my select list Italy, Holland and American are all three strong, others will need to ride smart if they are to compete with these teams.  

 

I would narrow my top six to Der Breggen, Johansson, Armistead, Ferrand Prevot, D’Hoore and Stevens.  Indeed I think that the last climb will be pretty much this selection, so who will have anything left in their legs for the final 680m?

 

It could easily boil down to who has the mental edge rather than the physical.  I feel lucky to have raced as a team mate at some point in my career with each one of the following riders and so I can tell you it is a really tough call to separate them out on any level right now.  However, I think that it will be a very close race and these three could fill the podium in any order:

 

So here is my podium prediction:

Gold:  Armistead

Silver: Johansson

Bronze: Der Breggen

 

Thanks Emma, we will look forward to reporting the results in detail and seeing whether the insider information we have is correct!

 

The schedule for the women is as follows with the times quoted being UK:

 

Time trials

Monday 21 September: Junior women 3:00pm to 4:10pm

Tuesday 22 September: Elite women 6:30pm to 9:45pm

 

Road races

Friday 25 September: Junior women 3:00pm to 4:50pm

Saturday 26 September: Elite women 6:00pm to 9:25pm

 

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