The UCI Road World Championships 2021 takes place in the Belgian region of Flanders with the men's road race taking place around the town of Leuven on Sunday, September 26.
The men's elite road race is the final event at the World Championships after a week of events. The route takes the riders over a tough 268.3kms with over 2500 metres of climbing throughout the day as they tackle eight laps around Leuven and two laps on the 'Flandrien circuit'.
This race is ideal for riders that excel in the Ardennes Classics, however, there is a possibility that a sprinter could be involved in the shakeup for the win. At least, judging by the riders selected, that is what the teams think.
Julian Alaphilippe is going to look to retain his title with the French team along with the on-form Florian Sénéchal, his Deceuninck - Quick-Step team-mate. Alaphilippe comes into the race after a solid third place at the Tour of Britain as well as solid rides in Belgian one-day races.
Wout van Aert (Belgium) is seen as the big favourite for the race on home roads and top form that saw him dominate the Tour of Britain where he won four of the eight stages as well as second in the World Championships time trial.
The Belgian team has plenty of options though if something goes wrong with Remco Evenepoel likely being the main focus. They also have Jasper Stuyvan, Tiesj Benoot and Yves Lampaert among others.
Italy have brought a shortlist of riders too with several on fine form coming into the race as another favourite likely leading the team is Italian and European champion, Sonny Colbrelli who recently won the Benelux Tour.
Alongside him are Matteo Trentin, Davide Ballerini, Giacomo Nizzolo, Gianni Moscon and others giving the team multiple options.
Mathieu van der Poel has been confirmed to be riding for the Netherlands after showing good form despite worries around his back injury that put doubts on him racing the Worlds and Paris-Roubaix.
Denmark comes with a hugely talented list of riders including former champion Mads Pedersen as well as on-form Michael Valgren and Magnus Cort with Kasper Asgreen, Søren Kragh Andersen, Mikkel Honoré and Andreas Kron to name a few on the list.
Slovakia's one-man show is looking like it could continue as Peter Sagan looks to be back to his top form yet again after winning the Tour of Slovakia for the first time on his debut appearance.
British hopes can not be counted out either as the team bring a very talented squad including Ethan Hayter, Mark Cavendish, Tom Pidcock, Jake Stewart and others racing.
Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar is also expected to race for Slovenia as well as Caleb Ewan and Michael Matthews of Australia. Quinn Simmons could be an outside bet for the USA with Alejandro Valverde (Spain), Nils Politt (Germany) and Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) all danger men.
Here is the provisional start list for the 2021 elite men's road race...
KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren
WÜRTZ SCHMIDT Mads
DE MARCHI Alessandro
VAN AERT Wout
VAN DER POEL Mathieu
VAN BAARLE Dylan
VAN POPPEL Danny
HERNANDEZ Jose Tito
GARCÍA CORTINA Iván
EIKING Odd Christian
LAENGEN Vegard Stake
BYSTRØM Sven Erik
PITA Cristian David
NOVOA Leonidas Sebastián
QUINTEROS Alexis Benjamin
BURBANO Joel Levi
United States of America
JANSE VAN RENSBURG Reinardt
LAUK Karl Patrick
FAGUNDEZ Eric Antonio
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