Reigning World Champion Belgium Philippe Gilbert (photo) did not have much to show for this year, until he surfaced in La Vuelta and won a stage. In fact, last year it was exactly the same. After an immensely successful 2011, it was only in Spain that he took his first win. A few weeks after that he grabbed the rainbow-jersey. Gilbert can rely on a good sprint.
Definitely one of the better climbers in the bunch, Chris Froome has said the World Championships is one of his goals this year. Of course all eyes will be on the winner of the Tour de France, so it will be hard. Looks like the climbs in Italy are too short for him, but who knows…
Vincenzo Nibali was superb in the Giro and did a good job in the Vuelta. Does not win many stages though. Nevertheless, the man from Sicily has great willpower, and the Giro d’Italia pluss the World Cycling Championships in his homeland are his main goals this year.
Four times he climbed the podium at the World Championships. But never as the winner. Desperately in need to change all that, Alejandro Valverde from Spain is definitely a contendor to be reckoned with. He likes though courses like the one in Florence. At last year’s World Championships in Valkenburg he was on the podium as well, after Boasson Hagen and Gilbert. Has a good sprint, especially after a long day in the saddle.
Belgium Jan Bakelants is a fairly blank slate, but he drove an excellent Tour, after which he was strong in the Classica San Sebastian. Indicated that the course in Florence suits him. All eyes will undoubtedly be on his compatriot Gilbert, that’s a good thing for Bakelants.
The same holds true for Dutchmen Bauke Mollema. The Dutchman is a sly driver. Often you don’t see him during the race, after which he pops up just before the finish line. The right tactics for the World Championships.
The route might be a bit too tough for Slovakian Peter Sagan. But if he survives all the fiery climbs, no one wants to compete with him on the finish line.
Edvald Boasson Hagen won silver in 2012 and seems to be one of the candidates again this year after some good results in the Vuelta. But he has only two teammates in the race which is not an advantage for this young Norwegian rider.
Candidates for the World Championships’ road race
Philippe Gilbert (bel)
Vincenzo Nibali (ita)
Chris Froome (gbr)
Alejandro Valverde (spa)
Jan Bakelants (bel)
Bauke Mollema (nld)
Peter Sagan (svk)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (nor)
Route map and profile for the road race for men
Click on the images to zoom