Will history-chasing Peter Sagan strike gold in Bergen? Carlton Kirby previews the World Road Race
Eurosport's voice of cycling Carlton Kirby feels Peter Sagan is favourite for a historic third world title in Bergen on Sunday on a circuit that could trouble the sprinters.
Sprinters could be left powerless
Everyone is talking about this road race being a sprinter’s event.
Italy have sent a sprinter’s team to back up Elia Viviani with Sonny Colbrelli, Matteo Trentin and Diego Ulissi as the supporting cast.
But they’ve left behind their punchy guys like Fabio Felline.
France have done exactly the opposite. They’ve left behind their sprinters.
They are going for Julian Alaphilippe. They’re assuming it is a puncher’s race, and the Italians are thinking it is a sprinter's race.
I think the French are right. The road race has got a great big climb in the middle of the circuit that they have to climb 11 times.
It is a couple of km. The sprinters are thinking: “Once you get over this climb, you still have 10km left to catch those who are up the road."
I think the people who are up the road won’t be caught, and I think it will potentially come down to being so far ahead that the sprint element is taken away from the chasers.
Uran the wildcard in Bergen
I think Rigoberto Uran of Colombia could go well because he can climb, he can time trial and at the very end of a long race he can still sprint.
He is the complete package. I’m backing Uran as an outsider. He is very much a long shot because plenty of people are saying it is there for Peter Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet and Rafal Majka, fast men who can handle a classic style course.
They are probably right, and if you are thinking of those two, you won't be far away from the winner, but I do think Uran will be in the frame.
Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale) at Tour de France 2017Getty Images
Sagan is favourite to make it three consecutive world titles for the first time in the history of the event which is just phenomenal.
It also depends on how much team support you get. It will be a sprint finish, but it won’t be a mass sprint.
From the climb, the finish is 10km. Everybody thinks 10km is enough to wind in those who attacked on the climb, but I don’t think it is.
I think you are going to see Sagan and Van Avermaet belting up this final climb, leaving the sprinters in their wake before holding on to contest the title at the end of the 10km.
Sagan has worn the Rainbow Jersey with pride over the past two years, and there is every chance the Slovakian genius could again strike gold at the end of the rainbow in Norway.
Women's cycling gets better and better
Never has women’s cycling had such a high profile as it has at the moment.
The women’s Giro is back, you had Le Course and the Tour of Flanders is now fully established.
It is being integrated within the overall calendar and at the big events there is lots of cross over. The standard of women’s cycling has rocketed.
The women’s race is 158.2km. In 2016, it was the best race easily.
Amalie Dideriksen won this a year ago. She is only a kid at 21.
Everyone said that wouldn’t happen again, but on this women’s tour this year she has been really strong winning Ronde van Drenthe to show it was no fluke.
Britain’s Lizzie Deignan has had an appendix operation so she isn’t going to be great unfortunately.
I think it is going to be the usual suspects. A few others have popped up who are very strong.
Megan Guarnier won the Tour of California and will go well, Marianne Vos claimed the European road title and is a really strong sprinter.
Annemiek van Vleuten won La Course, and should feature strongly. It will be every bit as dramatic as the men's.
Follow Carlton Kirby @carltonkirby and LIVE from the World Championships in Bergen