Preview: Men's Elite World Championships Road Race. Alaphilippe fights for third world title, up against best in the world
On the 25th of September the World Championships will have it's conclusion with the main event, the men's Elite Road Race, where the new World Champion will be crowned in Wollongong.
This is a hard route suited to the classics specialists and the climbers who have that dash of explosivity that they can take advantage of later in the day. Endurance will also be a very important factor, besides the obvious tactics where a route like this can be severely influenced. Early on the riders will tackle Mount Keira which features 7.5 kilometers at 5.7%. This will however be too far from the finish to have any meaningful influence in the race however. After 61 kilometers of racing however the riders enter the final circuit. Over 200 kilometers racing in the streets of Wollongong will be a draining task, a circuit that has one clear feature.
The riders will tackle 11 laps of this circuit, which includes Mount Pleasant as the main feature of the day with it’s 1.1 kilometers at 8.6%. Leading up to it there will be a small uphill section which will be ridden in the time-trial with 700 meters at 6%. The run-up to the climb will be furious and the gradients bite the most at the bottom with 16%. It slightens out a bit before growing again to 14% near the summit. It is however a very short and sharp effort, which summits with 8 kilometers to go.
This will be a key section of the route, where the candidates to the win will be clear. However from this point onwards tactics become crucial, as the riders will shortly descend back into sea level and have six kilometers of straightforward flat roads until the finish line in Wollongong. Here the race can be won or lost. It is long enough to organize a chase, or to stop working and see riders coming from behind. It will be a fast finale and the winning attack can come at any time. It will be back at the center that the new World Champion will be crowned.
The list of favourites will include several climbers such as: Jakob Fuglsang, Remco Evenepoel, Tobias Foss, Tadej Pogacar, João Almeida, Romain Bardet, Pavel Sivakov, Sergio Higuita, Nairo Quintana, Jai Hindley, Ben O'Connor and Alexey Lutsenko,
As for the classics specialists however, they will also have a very strong saying in the race. There will be many quality riders present: Neilson Powless, Magnus Sheffield, Zdenek Stybar, Stefan Küng, Mauro Schmid, Mattias Skjelmose, Biniam Girmay, Wout van Aert, Quinten Hermans, Iván García Cortina, Julian Alaphilippe, Benoît Cosnefroy, Valentin Madouas, Christophe Laporte, Ethan Hayter, Fred Wright, Andrea Bagioli, Alberto Bettiol, Michael Matthews, Mathieu van der Poel and Dylan van Baarle.
Final startlist men's Elite World Championships with Evenepoel, Pogacar, van Aert, van der Poel, Alaphilippe and Matthews
**** Wout van Aert
*** Mathieu van der Poel, Tadej Pogacar
** Remco Evenepoel, Julian Alaphilippe, Michael Matthews
* Biniam Girmay, Ethan Hayter, Christophe Laporte, Fred Wright