The UCI Road World Championships’ ones to watch

The UCI Road World Championships’ ones to watch

Expect plenty of wheel-to-wheel action when the UCI Road World Championships get under way on BBC One this weekend

Cycling’s biggest stars have arrived in Austria, but who will leave with World Championship gold?

2018 UCI Road World Championships, Saturday 29 September, 2-4pm, BBC One/HD (CH 101/108) and 4-5pm, BBC Two/HD (CH 102/162)

Over eight days of thrilling, fast-paced cycling, world titles will be clinched, retained, regained and ripped out of reach as professional cycling’s elite head to Austria for this year’s pulsating Road World Championships.

 

With steep climbs, blisteringly quick descents and seriously stunning scenery, the city of Innsbruck and its surrounding roads are a perfect test for the world’s most talented men and women on two wheels.

Both Team Sky and the British contingent of riders will be hoping to improve on last year’s championships in Norway, which saw the likes of Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas unable to replicate their stunning form from the Grand Tours.

 

In order to do so, they’ll have to overcome one of the toughest fields in years – and without Froome and Thomas, who’ve chosen to sit the event out, citing fatigue. Read on for the big names we think will be well worth a watch when the starting pistol sounds…

 

Peter Sagan (Slovakia and Team Bora-Hansgrohe)

Peter Sagan

With three consecutive road race gold medals under his belt, it’ll come as absolutely no surprise to see that “Peter the Great” is the favourite going into this year’s competition. Having recently picked up his sixth green jersey in this year’s Tour de France, thrillingly for his fans (and no doubt worryingly for his rivals) Sagan is a man in form. One to watch for sure, although blink and you’re very likely to miss him.

 

Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands and Team Sunweb)

Tom Dumoulin

As well as being the holder of one of cycling’s strangest nicknames – “Tommy McWindmills” – the speedy Dutchman is also the reigning individual time-trial world champion, and one part of the six-man team that stormed to time-trial gold last year. In fine form, with second-place finishes in this year’s Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, Dumoulin has every chance of grabbing more medals to add to his mounting collection.

 

Hannah and Alice Barnes (Great Britain and Team Canyon-SRAM)

The Barnes sisters will be leading the British charge in the women’s event in both the time trial and road race categories. They’re not short on experience – these championships will be the third for 25-year-old Hannah, while Alice, at 23, will be competing in her fifth, and was part of the squad that helped Lizzie Deignan (then Armitstead) to road race gold in 2015 – and both have a great chance to score some medals, either for themselves or their team. 

 

Teams to watch

Interestingly, the Road World Championships are contested by both the nations the riders originate from and the World Tour teams they race for. So while Italy, Belgium, France and Great Britain are competing to acquire impressive medal hauls of their own, Team Sky, which comprises British, Polish, Colombian and Belarusian riders) are also touted to top the podiums. The question is, after winning four of the last five Grand Tours, and without Thomas and Froome, do Team Sky have the energy needed to mount a serious challenge on the world stage? Or will Dumoulin’s Sunweb defend their team title?

 

2018 UCI Road World Championships, Saturday 29 September, 2-4pm, BBC One/HD (CH 101/108) and 4-5pm, BBC Two/HD (CH 102/162)

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