[Underneath article was written in the week before the race and has not been updated. Vollering didn’t start after testing positive on COVID19]
The Dutch possess an exceptional squad, not only in depth, but there are also a number of incredible winners line up in orange. Annemiek van Vleuten has one and Marianne Vos has three rainbow jerseys in their closet – that is, road race jerseys, if you add other discplines to the mix the numbers of rainbow stripes is simply staggering. Furthermore, the Dutch squad has several cards to play. Van Vleuten is likely to give it a shot with a long range attack, as she did in 2019 in Harrogate, while Vollering and Vos are fast finishers after a trying race. Which it’s probably going be in Wollongong.
The race takes in an elvation gain of almost 2,400 metres, while Mount Pleasant is expected to become decisive with its 1.1 kilometres at 7.7% inside the last 8 kilometres. The climb is the central point in each of the six laps on the Wollongong circuit.
It remains to be seen if title defender Elisa Balsamo survives Mount Pleasant. She is not a bad climber, but six times may be to much. Her compatriot Marta Cavalli would have been a hot favourite for the rainbow jersey. But unfortunately the winner of both the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne does not race in Australia as she continues her recovery from a horror crash at the Tour de France Femmes.
The winner of the Strade Bianche and Tour of Flanders, Lotte Kopecky, should be able to hold on on the climbs though. She is a gifted finisher, while the likes of Kasia Nieuwiadoma, Grace Brown and Elisa Longo Borghini will have to distance their rivals and finish solo.
Favourites 2022 World Championships Road Race – women
**** Annemiek van Vleuten, Demi Vollering, Lotte Kopecky
*** Marianne Vos, Kasia Nieuwiadoma, Grace Brown, Cecilie Ludwig-Uttrup
** Mavi García, Lianne Lippert, Elisa Longo Borghini, Elisa Balsamo
* Ashleigh Moolman, Ellen van Dijk, Marlen Reusser, Leah Thomas, Arlenis Sierra