World Cycling Championships 2018 Innsbruck, Austria: Preview road race

julian alaphilippe 2018 - World Cycling Championships 2018 Innsbruck, Austria: Preview road raceAt 258.5 kilometres and featuring 4,670 vertical metres, the road race at the World's in Innsbruck is something to look forward to. Who are the major contenders? Where are the likely decisive sections in the route? Check out our preview. (Slideshow route/profile)

The route of the World Cycling Championships road race is characterized by three sections. Following the start in Endach, the riders race 85 kilometres on flat to rolling roads, although this part also takes in one punchy climb. Then they hit a circuit of 23.9 kilometres with a 7.9 kilometres climb at 5.7% to the village Igls as its centerpiece, which is done six times. The same circuit serves as the last round, yet this time with a possibly decisive encore. At 31 kilometres, the final round not only features the Igls climb, but also a 2.8 kilometres toil with an average gradient of 11.5% and ramps of up to 25%. The race ends with a 6 kilometres descent and 2 kilometres on the flat.

It must be a versatile rider who’ll win the road race at the Worlds in Innsbruck. Obviously, climbing legs are desperately needed on the long-busting course, but given the downhill finale descending skills are essential, too. So the names of Julian Alaphilippe, Michael Kwiatkowski, Vincenzo Nibali, Primoz Roglic, Alejandro Valverde and Matej Mohoric spring to mind. All good climbers and great descenders – although the mountainous Innsbruck course could be too tough for Mohoric. The Slovenian youngster has mainly made a name for himself in the middle mountains.

At Cyclingstage.com, we think Alaphilippe, Kwiatkowski, Nibali and Roglic are the top contenders to win the race. Yet, the start list features a host of stellar names and it’s clear that the Yates-brothers, Dumoulin, Valverde, Bardet, Moscon, Gallopin and Martin (Daniel) are also riders to watch. Probably, you have an opinion on the new World Champion yourself. But you can also have a look at the cycling betting odds as given by 888.sports.com.

And what about Peter Sagan? The ‘Special One’ of cycling won three consecutive road race world titles, which has never been done before. Obviously, a fourth title in a row would be even more stunning. Pure climbers and their teams have to make the race as hard as they possibly can to eliminate the likes of Sagan. The Igls climb is a perfect place to hurt him – maybe not on the first haul up, but it will be getting tougher and tougher as the race further unfolds. If Sagan is still on board in the final lap he has to survive the steep final climb, too. But if he does, the Slovak phenomenon is in pole position to extend his lease on the rainbow jersey for another season. He is a brilliant descender and one of the fastest finishers in the peloton. Sagan himself labelled a fourth consecutive world title ‘not impossible’.

World Cycling Championships 2018 Innsbruck-Tirol: Route maps, height profiles, and more

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