2020 World Championships - now confirmed for Imola, Italy.

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Okay, not a single mention so far, but isn't this quite a good opportunity for Kwiatkowski to take back his jersey?
With van Aert present? :confused:

Is the Tour really so hard this year, and the schedule so tight, that riders are afraid to screw up the rest of the season if they go to the WC? Or is it more about the travelling in Covid times? Or both? What do you think?

Favourites so far for me:
**** *van Aert
**** Fuglsang
*** Hirschi, Pogacar, Woods
** Dumoulin, Alaphilippe, Roglic, the whole Italian team
* Lutsenko, Kwiatkowski, Martínez
half a star: Schachmann, Almeida, Valverde

How's Formolo? Healed? Than he would be one of the top-favourites for me, too.
 
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Yes. It has also been a good Tour for him in that regard.

Van Aert must be the number 1 favourite, at least everyone will look at him. Then Fuglsang. Valverde is obviously bronze material. Kwiatkowski, Dumoulin, Roglic and Pogacar can all win, maybe also Nibali and Uran. Who else?
Did you know that Valverde actually managed to get the gold during your hibernation? ;)

I would add Schachmann and Alaphilippe. Maybe even Hirschi.
 
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Yes. It has also been a good Tour for him in that regard.

Van Aert must be the number 1 favourite, at least everyone will look at him. Then Fuglsang. Valverde is obviously bronze material. Kwiatkowski, Dumoulin, Roglic and Pogacar can all win, maybe also Nibali and Uran. Who else?
I wonder if Belgium are actually gonna properly back Van Aert or if GvA and Gilbert and the like are gonna do their own thing.

But yeah I think Van Aert>Fuglsang>>>Valverde too. All the rest are under 5% IMO.
 
The 2nd climb is quite similar to Roche aux Faucons, Red Rick. The last 4 ascents are with roughly 50, 40, 20 and 10 km to go. So overall far harder, and harder hills in the finale, but the very end is quite similar. A beefed up Liege.
Yes, I've already said Alaphilippe has no chance to win.

A big question for the overall race is basically at one point all the domestiques will be dead, which IMO is likely gonna be quite early and be with 2 laps to go or even earlier.
 
Yes. It has also been a good Tour for him in that regard.

Van Aert must be the number 1 favourite, at least everyone will look at him. Then Fuglsang. Valverde is obviously bronze material. Kwiatkowski, Dumoulin, Roglic and Pogacar can all win, maybe also Nibali and Uran. Who else?
On top of those, I can think of:

France:
Alaphilippe
Guillaume Martin

Germany:
Schachmann

GB:
Thomas
Yates (both)

Italy:
Ulissi
Formolo

Spain:
Landa
Valverde

Ireland:
Dan Martin

Holland:
Keldermann

Equador:
Carapaz

Russia:
Vlasov
Sivakov (if he is not too busted up)

Canada:
Woods

Australia:
Porte

New Zealand:
George Bennett

Kazakhstan:
Lutsenko

Portugal:
Costa

Columbia:
Martinez

Switzerland:
Hirschi
 
Only really Kelderman, Woods (maybe), and Luts. Most are not going.

Liège has 11 categorized climbs, 5 of which are as difficult as the two in the circuit. 18 climbs like that is a lot, even if most of them will be ridden at a moderate or low pace. I really can't wait for the last 3 laps to happen.
 
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I think the most tricky thing about this Worlds is that it's the kind of route that literally has no decent comparison on the calendar IMO. It's much harder than LBL without actually having big climbs. Most WCRR circuits are a waiting game for the final one or two hills which can be comparable to a lot of one day races.

Perhaps the best comparison is Strade except more favorable to climbers?
Liege is harder race than Strade Bianche
 
Liege is harder race than Strade Bianche
Weather plays a big factor in Strade Bianche. Gravel roads. Higher risk for crashes/punctures makes the race unpredictable. The field can be missing a lot of great riders. The riders in good early-season-form have an advantage. For some it is one of the first races of the season.

LBL has some key moments everybody knows. Easier to control. A bit predictable in a way. Usually a lot of riders are looking to peak this race/week. Usually always have a very strong field. Many steep hills. Longer.

It is hard to say if SB is harder or that riders are just not simply in the greatest of form yet. LBL might be harder than we think, but everybody is in a good shape. Those who have targeted it and those looking to be going to the Giro.

I think the rolling terrain and steep hills, when raced hard, is the most difficult. We have seen in stage races where a stage like this causes the most damage. More than a mountain stage. I would say in bad weather SB is harder though.

All in all. I fall on LBL being the hardest.
 
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Year in, year out, we hear the riders say that Strade Bianche is the hardest one-day race in the world. Year in, year out we see posters claiming that distance is the be-all and end-all in such a discussion. I know which group I believe on this matter.
Pretty sure Strade burns more total calories than Milano Sanremo.

But maybe then Milano Sanremo burns the least calories of all the monuments
 
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Year in, year out, we hear the riders say that Strade Bianche is the hardest one-day race in the world. Year in, year out we see posters claiming that distance is the be-all and end-all in such a discussion. I know which group I believe on this matter.
Weren't you on the "we believe race profiles over former riders" bandwagon the other day, or do I remember that incorrectly? ;)
 
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Fuglsang has to be the number one favourite for this.
He loves this kind of short and steep climbs and he is the current LBL and Lombardia champion.

However there a significant number of riders that can win it as well among which Pogačar, Roglic, Valverde, Woods and Van Aert are a step above the rest
 
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Cycling Ireland aren’t even sending the six riders Ireland qualified and appear to be sending no women at all.

The Irish team consists of Dan Martin (ISN), Nico Roche (Sunweb), Ryan Mullen (Trek), Ben Healy (Trinity Racing). Eddie Dunbar and Sam Bennett were provisionally named but aren’t going and haven‘t been replaced.

if he had any form, Dan Martin would be a dark horse to win, but he doesn’t appear to have any. Roche will be a useful domestique but isn’t a threat to win. Mullen is a big lump TTist and will be dropped early. Healy is a promising espoir climber who is presumably there for experience and to get some bottles. He’s probably the third best climber available anyway with Dunbar injured
 
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Different races will be hard for different kind of riders. (Nonetheless I think Strade is the hardest, overall.) Some will struggle more with a more constant effort, others with an irregular rhythm, some will prefer descents as a part where they can ease or put others under pressure, for some descents are pure stress, too. Some are more affected by length than others. There are differences in how much a strong team helps, and so on.
Due to the gravel there is hardly a moment to breath in Strade, while in Liège there usually is. That will be the decisive factor for most. Strade is a lot like a much longer CX race, not much rolling along. For most riders that will be more decisive than 50k more or less.

As to Imola, a lot will depend on how it is raced, how early some teams put the pressure on.
I think in Strade tactics can be important for the chances of the individual rider, but the tactics are not that decisive in how hard the race is.
 
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