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Van der Poel, Pedersen to skip challenging worlds course

Sagan to decide in Paris whether he will race Imola route ideal for climbers.

The challenging 2020 road world championships course in Imola later this month is naturally drawing interest from the peloton’s climbers and puncheurs.

The newly revealed profile, set for September 24-27, is also seeing several riders saying that the climb-heavy route simply doesn’t suit their style of racing.

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) confirmed Monday after inspecting the route that he will not race. The Dutchman, whose team did not receive an invitation to start a grand tour this season, spectacularly blew up late in last year’s worlds in Yorkshire.

Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), the man who carried the rainbow jersey out of the rainy route last year, also confirmed he will not start the worlds. Instead, the Danes will bring a loaded squad built around Jakob Fuglsang.

Another top name — three-time world champion Peter Sagan — is on the bubble. Bora-Hansgrohe officials said he will decide if he will race the worlds after reaching Paris. Sagan is in now in a heated, come-from-behind battle with Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) for the green jersey at the Tour de France. Sagan is also scheduled to race the Giro d’Italia, which starts October 3.

Italy stepped up to host the annual world championships after Switzerland backed out to host the event in the Alps in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The road races will be contained entirely on one 28.8km circuit: The men’s 258.2km road race will climb in excess of 5,000 meters of elevation over nine laps, while the women’s race will cover 143km and about 2,800 meters climbing over five laps.

With that kind of elevation, it’s no surprise that the likes of Pedersen and Van der Poel are staying home.