World Championships 2015: Individual Time Trial Preview

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With the World Championships well underway, the elite men’s individual time trial title is up for grabs in Richmond. Bradley Wiggins is not around to defend his rainbow jersey, but there are plenty of chrono specialists looking to succeed him as the world champ.

The Route

The lion’s share of the 53km men’s ITT course sits outside the city of Richmond. Only in the final few 10km or so do the roads start to get particularly urban. Before that, it’s mostly rolling countryside.

The official profile may appear to have plenty of ups and downs, but this is a  pretty flat course.

The official profile may appear to have plenty of ups and downs, but this is a pretty flat course.

The riders will set out from the King’s Dominion amusement park and work their way south into town, where the route gets slightly (but not a lot) more technical in the final run-in to the finish.

While the profile highlights every single small riser and short downhill stretch, this is not a particularly hilly time trial, and we can expect the TT heavyweights to get up to pretty high speeds.

The Favorites

Tony Martin, in the hunt for his fourth world title, is the top favorite to take the victory. The long, mostly flat course suits him very well, and without Bradley Wiggins around, no one can match Martin in terms of peak ability. It’s been an odd year for Martin, who hasn’t built up as dominant a record in the TTs as he did in 2013 or 2014, but he’s the most accomplished rider on the startlist and in his prime, so it’s hard to bet against him.

Tom Dumoulin ran 3rd in 2014 and has consistently been among cycling’s best against the clock, but it’s hard to know just how strong he’ll be after an exhausting Vuelta. Dumoulin fought hard for a GC position all the way to the final mountain stage, and that takes its toll. Still, he’s had a bit of time to recover and could be in the mix.

Rohan Dennis may be the best-positioned to challenge Martin for the win. It won’t be easy, but Dennis has had an excellent season and proved his form leading BMC Racing to a TTT title on Sunday.

It would be a huge surprise if the world title went to any rider outside that trio. Adriano Malori is among the best of the rest—he’s had a comparatively quiet season at the highest level of racing but has won several Continental Tour TTs, including one very recently over Tony Martin at the Tour de Poitou Charentes.

Pre-injury Taylor Phinney probably expected to be challenging for the world title by 2015, but things haven’t quite gone as planned over the past two seasons. Still, Phinney looks very strong right now and is riding in from of home fans. Given what he proved to be capable of in time trials early on in his career, he can’t be counted out.

Vasil Kiryienka was very impressive in the Giro’s long time trial and always does well at Worlds. Alex Dowsett can run hot and cold but (along with Malori) he had enough form to help Movistar to a podium spot in the TTT Sunday. Matthias Brändle, Maciej Bodnar, Jan Bárta, Luke Durbridge, Rasmus Quaade, Wilco Kelderman, Jonathan Castroviejo, Rigoberto Urán, and Stefan Küng are others to watch.

VeloHuman Top 10 Race Favorites

Winner: Tony Martin
Podium: Tom Dumoulin, Rohan Dennis
Other Top Favorites: Adriano Malori, Taylor Phinney, Vasil Kiryienka, Matthias Brändle, Rasmus Quaade, Maciej Bodnar, Jan Bárta

VH will be in Richmond to provide plenty of Worlds analysis, so stay tuned for coverage throughout the week, and be sure to follow @VeloHuman on Twitter for more.

Photo by Sean Rowe (CC).

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