Course makes worlds unpredictable

Fri, 23 Sep 14:38:00 2011

Mark Cavendish will start Sunday's road race as the favourite but the British sprint ace will have to be extra cautious as danger lurks on the tricky 266-km course.

Cyclists ride during a training session in Copenhagen - 0

Cavendish is expected to benefit from the flat course from Copenhagen, but a slightly steep finish and unique tactics could prevent the Manxman from prevailing.

"The hardest part is the finish straight," said Briton Bradley Wiggins, who believes the rainbow jersey will certainly not be handed to Cavendish on a silver plate.

"With the team we've got, with the form the team is in it's pretty exciting for us as a nation."

The finish straight could suit powerful riders like Fabian Cancellara, who lost his time trial title earlier this week, or the in-form Philippe Gilbert, the world number one.

But Cavendish has already shown he could handle tough situation, like when he unexpectedly won the Milan San Remo classic in 2009.

"I think (he has the strength). He says he's in the form of his life. I supoose it just remains to be seen but if he's ever going to win (the world title), this is the course," said Wiggins.

"It's the world title and it's going to take the ride of his life to win it. It always does to win a world title.

"It's going to need something special from him it's become a bit of a routine for him winning Tour (de France) stages he does it easy but it's going to be a lot harder than that."

At the world championships, riders cannot use race radios and have to give up their trade teams -- although old habits can reappear during the race and that can confuse the issue.

"It just gets faster and faster, there's no radio, half the time it's difficult to know actually who's in the front, how many riders are in the front," Wiggins explained.

"They're not in trade teams so it's diffcult to see who is there, different nations, jerseys, so it's certainly going to be unique.

"It is gonna take a lot. You've got different combines going on with trade teams, nations. More certainly now than ever with the World Tour points situation.

"If Cav wins on Sunday there's nothing in it for us financially," the Teamp Sky rider added. "But that's true for other nations."

Although the course is quite flat, its design could prove treacherous.

"The first part of the (14-km) circuit is sinuous. There will be crashes and some riders could be trapped. It could affect the race," France coach Laurent Jalabert said.

"It is technical and dangerous."

With Cavendish and Team GB set to be marked all day, others will hope to surprise the field.

"We should not forger Cancellara," said France's Sylvain Chavanel. "He has what it takes to power away in the finish."

Cancellara has unfinished business with the Copenhagen world championships, having finished a disappointing third in Wednesday's time trial.

Belgian Philippe Gilbert, who won the GP de Wallonie, the GP de Quebec and the Clasica San Sebastien after the Tour de France in awesome fashion, will also be a force to be reckoned with.

"I will start with no pressure," said Gilbert, who has already made sure he will finish the season as the world number one.

Defending champion Thor Hushovd of Norway is a strong finisher while compatriot Edvald Boasson Hagen and Slovakian Peter Sagan have also been tipped for victory.


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