British Cycling today named ten riders for the men’s road race at the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, on Sunday, with a decision on the final nine-man team due later in the week.
Cycling Weekly understands there is still a slight doubt over Mark Cavendish, following his withdrawal from the Tour of Missouri with an illness. It appears the final place will go to either Cavendish, if he’s 100 per cent fit, or Ian Stannard.
The rest of the team is as expected, with David Millar leading the team, backed by Steve Cummings, Rusell Downing, Chris Froome, Roger Hammond, Dan Lloyd, Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas and either Stannard or Cavendish.
Rod Ellingworth told CW last week the decision on whether Cavendish rode would be left as late as possible. He said: “Mark’s over the illness but if there’s any doubt we won’t take a risk. Having said that, if he’s fit and healthy to start, he will. He really wants to do a job for the team and he can certainly work in the first half of the race for others. He’s keen to be part of the group and it’s important to have him as part of the group.”
Bradley Wiggins confirmed last week that he would concentrate on the time trial, explaining that he’d told his Garmin team-mate Millar he’d ride the road race if he needed him. Millar told him he had a strong enough team. Ellingworth said: “It’s about that open, honest communication. That’s what we’re about. We don’t want people to say something because they think it’s what we want to hear. Brad could certainly have done the time trial and then done a job in the road race, but if he thinks he can only concentrate 100 per cent on the time trial, then it’s really important he says that.
“Jeremy Hunt has been honest enough to say he doesn’t think he’s got it. Dan Fleeman also stepped back a little bit. It’s about the guys taking responsibility and being up front about what role they can play in the bike race. Then we can make decisions about the best way to go forward.”
Froome and Wiggins will ride in Thursday’s time trial, a selection that may surprise some after Millar’s time trial win in the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday.
Ellingworth confirmed there would be no late change of mind. He said that Millar had been targeting the time trial as part of his preparation for the World Championships road race.
Froome told CW he was relishing the chance to ride a time trial. “I’ll look at a place in the top 30 as a good result,” he said. “Rod told me some time ago that this was an opportunity to have a go at preparing for a specific event on a specific day, something I don’t have any experience at really. The level of detail and the amount of advice has been fantastic.”
Froome has ridden time trials for Kenya before. In 2007 he was a silver-medallist in the time trial at the B World Championships, a competition for the smaller cycling nations. He’s represented Kenya at under-23 level. His finest time trial performance came in the penultimate stage of the 2008 Tour de France, where he was 16th.
Meanwhile, Great Britain go into the women’s road race with their strongest team ever. Nicole Cooke’s status as defending champion means Team GB have seven places in the race. And although Cooke’s form has not been great this summer, Emma Pooley’s excellent year means there is still a great chance of a British rider making the podium. Pooley is also a strong medal hope in the time trial.
Peter Kennaugh leads the men’s under-23 team in the road race, and showed some flashes of his impressive Baby Giro form in the final stages of the recent Tour de l’Avenir.
Men’s road race (Sunday)
nine to ride
Women’s road race (Saturday)
Men’s under-23 road race (Saturday)
Men’s time trial (Thursday)
Women’s time trial (Wednesday)
Men’s under-23 time trial (Wednesday)