Preview: Dissecting the world championship time trial course — and a look at the favorites

Who will stand the test of time?

2010 world championship time trial course
See larger map below

For the elite men and women, the 22.9 kilometer time trial circuit of the 2010 Worlds is ostensibly an augmented version of the Geelong road race circuit (15.9km). However, the featured climb on the latter — the 1,100 meter, eight percent rise up Challambra Crescent — has been replaced a slightly easier though longer ascent.

The first 4.5km is identical to the road race circuit, but at the point where the peloton would turn into Barwon Boulevard followed by Challambra Crescent, the time trialers tackle what is in effect a 2.1km climb — the first 1,600m up Mount Pleasant Road that includes a dip of some 300m midway through, followed by a further 500m clamber up Scenic Road that at its peak (the intersection of Scenic Road and The Ridge, or the 6.6km mark), takes the chrono men back on the road race parcours.

This means that, as in the road race, the TT riders will face the second 800m climb up Aphrasia Street, followed by the undulating run back towards the start/finish in Moorabool Street. From the Eastern Beach Esplanade, however, instead of turning right into Moorabool Street, elite riders must continue their journey along the Esplanade and dogleg into the Botanic Gardens for an extra 7km of twisting, undulating roads that provide stuff-all respite till the finish.

For the elite women, their journey will be over after just one 22.9km lap; the men will need to brave two rounds before their run is over after 45.8km.

Regarding the latter group, it’s difficult to look even a millimeter past the Swiss Time Machine that is Fabian Cancellara, who is gunning for an unprecedented fourth title. Without sounding overly defeatist, the likes of Tony Martin, Michael Rogers, Davids Zabriskie and Millar et al. will have to hope for a puncture or three if Spartacus is to be contained.

The only ‘if’’ surrounding Cancellara stems from his performance in the stage 17 time trial at the Vuelta a España. In a 46km pancake-flat run, he surprisingly did not win, conceding 12 and 37 seconds respectively to Denis Menchov and stage winner, Peter Velits.

A likely reason was that Cancellara was overworked as a domestique for Fränk Schleck, which came about after Andy Schleck and Stuart O’Grady were shown the door by team boss Bjarne Riis after some late-night beer swilling (The exact quantity consumed and time the pair returned to their hotel is still under debate; perhaps it’s a good thing all four Saxo Bankers are leaving at the close of the season).

U23 course

The ‘espoirs’, or Under 23 Men, miss out on the 7km extension through Geelong’s Botanic Gardens, but like the elite men and women, avoid the tougher Challambra Crescent climb used on the road race course, negotiating the Mount Pleasant/Scenic Road incline in lieu, making for a 15.9km circuit to be completed twice over.

American phenom and recently-crowned national TT champ, Taylor Phinney, who continues to improve at a preternatural rate, is a clear-cut favorite to take both the road race and time trial in this category, though Australian Michael Matthews will give him a run for his money in both, as will U23 Aussie TT champ, Rohan Dennis, in the latter.

UCI Road World Championships Practice, 2010
Local favorite Mick Rogers heads out for some practice in the rain

TT Contenders:

Elite Men

5-star favorite: Fabian Cancellara

4-star favorites: Tony Martin, Michael Rogers

3-star favorites: David Millar, David Zabriskie, Gustav Larsson, Svein Tuft

Elite Women

5-star favorite: Noemi Cantele, Linda Villumsen

4-star favorite: Christiane Söder

3-star favorite: Karin Thürig, Amber Neben (USA)

Time Trial schedule: 2010 UCI Road Cycling World Championships

Wednesday September 29

Under 23 Men Time Trial, 2 x 15.9km laps, 31.8 km, 10:00 a.m. AEST start

Women’s Elite Time Trial, 1 x 22.9km laps, 22.9 km, 15:00 p.m. AEST start

Friday October 1

Men’s Elite Time Trial, 2 x 22.9km laps, 45.8 km, 13:00 p.m. AEST start

2010 world championship time trial course
2010 world championship time trial course