PREVIEW | Glasgow World Championships Men's Elite Time-Trial 2023 - Evenepoel, Ganna and van Aert fight for rainbow jersey

Preview. On the 11th of August 2023 the men's peloton will encounter the time-trial World Championships, this year taking place in Glasgow, but in this discipline the event will be hosted in the city of Stirling.

With 48 kilometers in distance, this is somewhat of a return to the longer events which have frequently not been seen lately in the worlds. It is a mostly flat time-trial, however with several small rises throughout the circuit that will disrupt the pace of many. A long effort close to an hour, one for the specialists however with it's long flat straights.

PREVIEW | Glasgow World Championships Men's Elite Time-Trial 2023 - Evenepoel, Ganna and van Aert fight for rainbow jersey
Stirling - Stirling, 48 kilometers

It is a high-speed route however for almost the whole distance, with the exception of the finale, which will be placed atop the Stirling Castle. This will see the riders take on 800 meters at 6% to complete their effort, all in cobbled roads.

The Weather

PREVIEW | Glasgow World Championships Men's Elite Time-Trial 2023 - Evenepoel, Ganna and van Aert fight for rainbow jersey
Map Glasgow World Championships Men's Elite Time-Trial 2023

Rain is possible but hard to predict. Rain showers may fall according to the forecast, and on several races it's been the case that it fell at random times. The same can happen here. What is quite certain is the wind, it'll be blowing quite meaningfully from the southwest and the roads are very exposed. It won't be favouring anyone in specific, as the changes in direction are quite frequent, but will add a bit of tactics into the efforts required.

The Favourites

Remco Evenepoel - The road race wasn't the best sign for him, but not a total surprise as the circuit didn't suit him. Evenepoel looked so incredibly strong at the Giro's time-trials but afterwards for one reason or another he has not won the following three TT's. Here the race is long, windy and features some ascents. On paper perfect for him, but when facing the watt monsters it is not certain that he will be having the most speed, he's not actually that likely to outclimb the likes of van Aert and Ganna on hilltops such as these.

Filippo Ganna - Ganna is a big question, the wind has in the past saw him struggle. He should supposedly be able to handle all terrains so it will come down to form. Ganna did win the Tour de Wallonie time-trial recently with long distance but it was far from a dominant performance. Not the best signs, but he will be looking to take back the rainbow jersey.

Wout van Aert - What if he gets his fifth silver medal without gold? It can happen, I fear it may actually happen and would not be a surprise. Van Aert will be in the first places, he has no weak spot, but somehow there's always been one or two riders on mega days that then beat him. He's definitely not put much focus on the time-trial bike this year until the Tour de France preparation. He did win the Belgian nationals but there Evenepoel crashed, but at the Tour he finished third in a TT suited to the climbers, that was maybe his best sign.

Stefan Küng - In these Worlds Küng is performing. He's just won the Mixed Relay TT and was fifth in a brutal road race. Hopefully for him the fatigue does not build and instead he has the same legs. A very consistent performer, the Swiss specialist will fly certainly in the flat roads and can handle himself elsewhere. Last year seemed to finally be the year of the rainbow but a shocking Tobias Foss just managed to go through him. It's possible that this year no-one is able to do the same.

Tadej Pogacar - Pogacar was second in the time-trial at the Tour, he will try to take advantage of the small climbs here but it will be hard to match the previous riders in a lot of the route. Pogacar is never to be discarded and his form is on point so you can't exclude him from the fight for a medal, maybe even gold if he is on a good day. The truth is he's not raced a flat time-trial this, his last one was last year's worlds where he was sixth and it looks like a decent estimate of where he can stand on a normal day.

I've given you five names but there are plenty more. Podium contenders stand outside of those, Top5 and Top10 will be filled by several of them. Starting on the day we can't forget reigning champion Tobias Foss who shocked last year in similar conditions, he fancies the long time-trials but in all honesty his recent form and throughout the whole year he's not shown any performance similar to Wollongong and a place in the Top10 is likely the best he can achieve. Stefan Bissegger is the reigning European Champion and I would say the exact same about him.

Among the outsiders we can take a look at the purists and those who will try to use the climbs to their benefit. On the climbing side we have João Almeida and Geraint Thomas who are preparing for the Vuelta a Espana but have already shown themselves well against the clock at the Tour de Pologne. There we've seen Mattia Cattaneo take a surprising win and he's now a meaningful outsider, in Poland the time-trial did not include climbing but here that could actually play in his favour. Brandon McNulty could also be one of the riders most looking forward to climbing the cobbles of Stirling.

The French come off a tight second place at the Mixed Relay, there both Rémi Cavagna and Bruno Armirail put in big efforts and they will be looking to thrive here. On the Danish camp we've got Mikkel Bjerg winner of the Criterium du Dauphiné time-trial who could well surprise here and also Kasper Asgreen. Soren Waerenskjold - the reigning under-23 World Champion in the discipline - and Joshua Tarling come as two young options but incredible powerhouses who can tear up the flat roads alongside the best for sure.

The startlist is incredibly luxurious and it does feature more outsider names. But if I were to go through all we have around 20/25 legitimate contenders for a spot in the Top 10. A lot will depend on how the riders feel in the day, their pacing strategy and of course, their luck with the weather.

Prediction Glasgow World Championships Men's Elite Time-Trial 2023:

*** Remco Evenepoel, Wout van Aert
** Filippo Ganna, Stefan Küng
* Tadej Pogacar, Rémi Cavagna, Geraint Thomas, Mattia Cattaneo, Mikkel Bjerg, Kasper Asgreen

Pick: Remco Evenepoel

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