With the World Championships fast approaching, we take a look at some of the Brits who could make an impact in Richmond

Lizzie Armitstead

Lizzie Armitstead wins, British Road National Championships 2015

Lizzie Armitstead wins, British Road National Championships 2015

Despite only being 26 years of age, this will be Lizzie Armitstead’s eighth appearance in the Elite Women’s race at the World Championships. But while she has been tearing it up on the women’s World Cup circuit for the last few years, that form has never transferred to the big end-of-season race.

In 2014 Armitstead matched her best Worlds finish, coming seventh in Ponferrada, and said afterwards that the tactics employed by the other riders did not play to her strengths.

Ironically, this year, the absence of her biggest rival, Marianne Vos, could hamper her chances as she told Cycling Weekly that without the three-time world champion in their midst the Dutch team would be full of strong riders with great chances of winning themselves.

But Armitstead has been in imperious form in 2015, winning three rounds of the World Cup on her way to overall glory, as well as winning back her National Championships title.

It’s always a lottery trying to predict World Championship winners, but this year’s Elite Women’s race is stacked with potential champions – will it be Lizzie’s year?

Ben Swift

Swift

It’s a little unclear who Great Britain will be working for in the men’s race in Richmond, but with Mark Cavendish roughing himself up a little in a Tour of Britain crash it looks a little more likely that Ben Swift will get the nod.

The course suits the Yorkshireman, with a few sharp hills and a slightly uphill sprint finish, meaning a sprinter in the mould of Swift could ride to glory.

His main concern, though, may be a lack of racing time having broken his collarbone on the first stage of the Tour de Yorkshire in May.

He finished third in his first race back, the Ride London-Surrey Classic, and placed ninth in quite a strong field at the Rio 2016 test event in August.

His results at the Tour of Britain look underwhelming, but he was riding in support of triple stage winner Elia Viviani, so not the best Worlds warmup.

Like the women’s race, the men’s event is wide open as always, but given the right support, Swift could see himself with a shot at the win.

Hayley Simmonds

Hayley Simmonds, National 10-mile time trial championships 2014

Hayley Simmonds, National 10-mile time trial championships 2014

While Armitstead and Swift are in it to win it, for Hayley Simmonds it may be more about the experience of taking part more than the result – not that she’ll not be going flat out for victory in the women’s time trial.

Simmonds isn’t your average cyclist. For one, she converted from rowing just a few years ago, but also because she’s studying for a PhD in Chemistry at Cambridge University.

But she’s enjoyed a breakout year on the domestic time trial scene, winning the National Championships as well as the national 10 and 25-mile races.

She also set a new competition record over the 10 mile distance in August, beating Julia Shaw’s record by a single second, clocking 19-46.

She’ll have her work cut out at the Worlds though, but the 30km distance will suit her characteristics.

Owain Doull

Owain Doull, Team Wiggins, Tour de Normandie 2015, stage two

Owain Doull, Team Wiggins, Tour de Normandie 2015, stage two

GB’s U23 squad is arguably stronger than its elite squad for this year’s Worlds, with all five rider ones you’d happily back to win the race.

Tao Geoghegan Hart has had an impressive past few seasons, while Alex Peters has impressed enough to sign for Team Sky next year. Then there’s Scott Davies, who finished 12th overall at the Tour de Yorkshire and won the best young rider jersey at the Fleche du Sud, and Gabriel Cullaigh, who looked solid at last week’s Tour of Britain.

But it’s another Tour of Britain standout who could have the best chance of glory, with Owain Doull claiming a podium finish in his home tour against all odds.

The Team Wiggins rider was the model of consistency over the eight stages around Britain, with his lowest finish being 11th on the race’s only ‘summit’ finish on Hartside Fell.

It obviously helped to have someone like Sir Bradley Wiggins pulling hard on the front for you, but Doull showed enough racing nous of his own to set the rumour mill into overdrive as to who he may race for in future.

Alex Dowsett

Alex Dowsett, British time trial national championships 2015

Alex Dowsett, British time trial national championships 2015

What a year it’s been for Alex Dowsett. A broken collarbone disrupted his training for the UCI Hour Record, scheduled for February. But his recovery went well and the Essex boy smashed Matthias Brändle’s record in May, only to see it beaten by a certain Mr Wiggins a few weeks later.

Then he won his first stage race at Bayern Rundfahrt, followed by his record-equalling fourth National Championships time trial title and selection for Movistar’s Tour de France squad.

The Tour proved tough going for the Brit, suffering a crash on stage four and being forced to abandon after struggling in the first lot of mountains.

Back in 2012, Dowsett finished eighth in the Worlds time trial over a slightly lumpy course in Valkenberg and last year he came 20th as Wiggins won the rainbow stripes.

He’s proved he can win big time trials – taking victory in the 2013 Giro over a distance not dissimilar from the one he’ll face in Richmond.

Several big names, including Wiggins and Fabian Cancellara are missing this year, but Dowsett will need to do the ride of his life to get on the podium.

  • David Bassett

    Any one seen the T.V. schedule’s yet ?

  • David Bassett

    “the only reason Martin wasn’t the champion last year was because”
    Bradley put his mind to winning it, nothing to do with the hills, Martin is a brilliant tester, Just not the best on the day

  • Edvid

    13km is too long for a prologue, but I get your drift. In any case, Martin would be favourite if he’s close to his best form – I don’t know if 2 and a half months of recovery post-TdF is enough for that.

  • J1

    You mean that 13km stage? I’d call that a prologue not a proper TT. I don’t think you can take anything from that stage. Let’s see what happens over 4x the distance….

    It suits the powerful Testers for sure anyway, the only reason Martin wasn’t the champion last year was because it was a hilly course. Would’ve loved to see him get four in a row.

    It’s going to be an exciting battle anyway, so much quality around.

  • Edvid

    Of those five listed in detail, I’d say Armitstead and Doull are most likely to make the podium. I’m also interested in what Simmonds can do in the women’s ITT – top 10?

  • Edvid

    “[Tony] could be off his game and still obliterate the others” – Dennis will have something to say about that. He did win the TdF ITT, after all. 😉

    If Dowsett puts GB in the top 10 nations at Richmond, that would be a great performance after the stomach bug he suffered in Poland last month. If not, GB will only have one berth in the men’s Olympic ITT.

  • J1

    I wonder where Tony Martin’s fitness is at for the TT….although he could be off his game and still obliterate the others. I hope Dowsett does well, I’m just not sure he’s quite up there with the best yet.

  • @lukegraysonvelo

    Youngsters like Tao GH, Gabz Cullaigh, and Joey Walker could all come up good as well.