Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia) believes that it will be "impossible" to drop either Wout van Aert (Belgium) or Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) during the men's World Championship road race.
Van Aert and Van der Poel again appear right among the favourites to take the rainbow jersey in Wollongong, with the peloton taking on a 266.9km course on the east Australian coast.
After negotiating an early climbing test, the riders will take on 12 loops of a city circuit that includes just a single climb to Mount Pleasant.
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The short, sharp burst features a peak gradient of 14%, averaging out at 7.7%, and should be significant enough to end any hopes of a medal for the pure sprinters.
And while Pogacar fears fully dislodging either Van Aert or Van Der Poel from his wheel may not be possible, the Slovenian hopes he can tire the pair during a long race day.
"Who do you consider a sprinter?” Pogacar said in response to those questioning the hopes for the fast-men in New South Wales.
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“If you are talking about Wout van Aert, Van der Poel, those guys you don’t drop just on this parcours. It’s just impossible almost, but you can make them tired.
"But you also get tired after 267km. It’s not a lunch ride but it’s a really, really tough day for everybody.
“I’m really motivated. I can not wait. It’s an interesting parcours."
Slovenia have selected a six-man team for the men's road race, but are without Primoz Roglic and Matej Mohoric.
That makes Pogacar firmly established as the leader of the sextet, with the UAE Team Emirates rider likely to draw on particular support from Grand Tour stage winners Jan Tratnik and Jan Polanc.
Twice a Monument winner, the 24-year-old knows he may have to go on the attack to prevent Belgium and the Netherlands controlling proceedings to set up an explosive finish from their multi-talented leaders.
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“We need to do something because I think those teams will try and play it more safe and calm but we don’t have a full team,” Pogacar, who is yet to finish higher than 18th at a World Championships road race, said.
“So we will see how the riders that are in our team feel and we will decide together how we play it on Sunday.
"I think we have good riders, there is only six, but with six riders you can do a lot … We will see.”
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