No reigning champion will participate in the elite women’s time trial of the UCI Road World Championships to be held on September 29 in Belgium. Anna van der Breggen has chosen not to compete which leaves wide open the chances of obtaining the rainbow jersey for the other specialists in the race against the clock.
The women’s elite will cover 30.3 km and a positive vertical drop of 54 meters starting in Knokke-Heist, on the North Sea coast on the Dutch border, and finishing in the center of the historic city of Bruges.
The big favorite will be Annemiek van Vleuten, who recently won gold in the discipline at the Tokyo Olympics in July, but there are several other contenders to watch out for, including Olympic silver medalist Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) , who finished second. in the event last year.
There will be no Chloe Dygert (USA), who ended her season early to continue to recover from injuries sustained in an accident at the Imola Worlds event, nor Sarah Gigante and Grace. Brown (Australia).
The door is open for the sport’s veterans and former world champions Lisa Brennauer (Germany), Amber Neben (USA) and Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) to return to claim the jersey again.
Although they may not be ranked among the favorites of the event, there are a few riders who deserve to be mentioned for the top 10, and who have shown strong performances in previous events: Leah Kirchmann (Canada), Lisa Klein (Germany) and Olympic road race gold medalist Anna Kiesenhofer (Austria) is known for her good time trial performance.
Also, Joss Lowden, who made headlines in February when she unofficially broke the current hour record of 48.007 km, held by Vittoria Bussi, in a training attempt, covering 48.160 km.
Best time trial result in the world: 1st in 2017 and 2018
Double world champion in 2017 and 2018, Annemiek van Vleuten has been one of the best female time trial players in the world on a variety of terrains, from prologues to mountain time trials and on flat roads.
The Dutch have dominated the event by winning three of the last four editions, and the only rider to end their reign was Chloe Dygert (USA) in 2019.
Van Vleuten has spent the entire season composing her position on her new Canyon time trial bike from her Movistar sales team, and she has proven that she is back on top of the discipline after winning the gold at the Tokyo Olympics where she has 22.1 km hilly with 56 seconds ahead of her closest competitor Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) and 1:02 ahead of reigning world champion Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) .
Van der Breggen has chosen not to defend their title in the time trial, but the Dutch side will also field former world champions Ellen van Dijk and Riejanne Markus.
Best time trial result in the world: 2nd in 2020
A revelation over the past two seasons, Reusser has risen to the challenge of the greatest races in the world. She has always been a successful time trial and several times Swiss champion, but last year she won the silver medal at the world championships in Imola, and this year she won the medal of silver at the Olympic Games and gold at the European Championships.
Reusser celebrates his 30th birthday on the day of the individual time trial, September 20, and said a victory would be very special. However, there are no gifts in cycling and she will have to beat riders like Van Vleuten if she is to win the world title.
She could also surprise the cycling world in Flanders, as she said Cycling news that although she has performed very well in this event this year, she feels like she is just barely reaching her peak fitness level now, just before the World Championships.
Best time trial result in the world: 1st in 2014
Lisa Brennauer has a long and successful history in the time trial discipline. She won the world title in the individual time trial in 2014 and bronze in 2015, and won three more world titles in the former team time trial in 2013-2015, as well as a medal. silver in 2016, and another silver in the new mixed team. relay in 2019.
Although she was an event favorite at the Olympics, she ended up sixth at 1:57 behind Van Vleuten. The course was however much more hilly than it will be in Flanders, and with just 54 meters of vertical drop, the flatter course is much more likely to suit a runner like Brennauer.
Brennauer will also have had the opportunity to preview the time trial route in Flanders and will have studied all the technical sections and areas where his power will play a role to his advantage.
Best time trial result in the world: 1st in 2013
Never underestimate Ellen van Dijk in a time trial. She has been one of the best in the world for two decades and won the world title in 2013. She also won the silver medal in 2016 and the bronze medals in 2018 and 2020.
Van Dijk has had a solid season, especially in the time trials. She won the time trial stage and the overall title of the Healthy Aging Tour, won the prologue and finished second in the Lotto Belgium Tour, was part of the winning team time trial of Trek -Segafredo at the Giro d’Italia Donne, second in the prologue and third in the general classification of the Simac Ladies Tour and second behind Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) in the time trial of the European Championships.
Van Dijk has shown that she is back at the top of her game in the discipline, and although her compatriot Van Vleuten is the absolute favorite, watch Van Dijk like the dark horse to win, and at the very least, on the podium. for one of the medals.
Best time trial result in the world: 1st in 2008 and 2016
Amber Neben has also dominated time trials for more than two decades, winning two world titles in 2008 and 2016. At 46, Neben recently competed in her third Olympic Games where she finished fifth behind the gold medalist. Van Vleuten.
Neben was an automatic qualifier for both the road race and the time trial at the World Championships, however, she refused the place for the road race in order to allow another rider to compete in the team. , and will only focus on the time trial.
Neben’s form before the event is unknown, however, as she is recovering from a hip fracture suffered in an incident on August 25, when a driver turned his vehicle in her path, causing a collision.
Neben arrived in Belgium this week and said that she was able to progress in her training, to good effect, and feels confident that she did all she could to give the best of herself during these World’s Championships.