The World Cycling Championships road race is similar to a hilly classic. Just like last year. Let’s day that was an Australian take on Liège-Bastogne-Liège, this time we’ll see a Scottish version of the Amstel Gold Race. An endless series of short and sharp climb and hardly a metre of straight road.
Attrition, that’s the key word. And positioning is another one.
The tough course demands a strong and versatile rider with fast legs – the likes of Pedersen, Van Aert and Van der Poel. They would fancy to sprint in a small group for the rainbow stripes, while most other riders will want to get rid of them. Evenepoel could serve as an inspiration in that respect. Last year, he attacked with 34 kilometres remaining from a big lead group. Lutsenko followed his move until he was dropped 8 kilometres later. The rest is history.
Obviously, Evenepoel ponders a similar scenario. Two of his team mates, Van Aert and Philipsen, will be sitting quietly in the wheels, while the World Champions goes all out to regain the rainbow stripes.
Favourites 2023 World Championships Road Race
***** Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel, Mads Pedersen
**** Christophe Laporte, Tadej Pogacar, Alberto Bettiol, Remco Evenepoel
*** Michal Kwiatkowski, Julian Alaphilippe, Michael Matthews, Mattias Skjelmose
** Neilson Powless, Dylan van Baarle, Andrea Bagioli, Marc Hirschi, Ben Healy
* Matteo Trentin, Jasper Philipsen, Ion Izagirre, Olav Kooij, Alexey Lutsenko