Tuesday, 20 September 2011

UCI World Championships 2011 get underway

For the first time since 1956 the UCI World Championships are being hosted by Denmark in the city of Copenhagen. Consisting of five time trial events and two road races, the World Championships are considered to be the most prestigious event in the UCI race calendar. With juniors competing with elite riders in the road races for the first time since 2004 the course route favours a bunch sprint finish for the coveted Rainbow Jersey.

The 266km course laps around the city with each lap ending in a slight uphill kick. The fairly flat course will favour a bunch sprint finish but the little kicks could lead to splintering of the pack so with everyone on guard it will take a brave effort to destabilise the pack as the toughest of the sprinters battle home to contest the victory.

Having scouted the course during the Tour of Denmark, Oscar Freire is the big Spanish hope for the men’s road race on Sunday , amongst a team of sprinters that has seen Olympic Champion Samuel Sanchez left at home. Meanwhile Britain’s Mark Cavendish is looking to become only the second British rider to wear the Rainbow Jersey. Fellow HTC-Columbia team mate and key lead out man for the Grand Tours Mark Renshaw has been left off the Australian start-list in a move that has perplexed many. Having notched up 18 wins this season Phillipe Gilbert will be a big name to watch along with Thor Hushovd who showed fine form in the Tour de France.

After some fine performances in Europe, Australia’s Shara Gillow, 23, will be on the look out to take the Rainbow Jersey in the women’s road race. Topping the medal table in the last two World Championships, the Australian contingent are confident of strong another strong performance this year. Meanwhile Britain’s Nicole Cooke, who is no stranger to the World Championship podium having taken gold in 2008, and Emma Pooley, who will be defending her Time Trial jersey, are joined by 22 year old Lizzie Armisted who has sucessfully transferred from the track to road racing.

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