2012 UCI Road World Championships, Team Time Trial: Live updates, blog
Please join us for live coverage of the 2012 UCI Road World Championships Team Time Trial. Live blog coverage and updates will begin at approximately 10:30pm AEST.
For the first time since 1994, the team time trial will be run at the UCI Road World Championships and I couldn’t be happier. Finally, the UCI has had the balls to put a fantastic event back on the schedule, albeit in a slightly different format.
The Team Time Trial was first run as an event at the World Championships in Salo, Italy in 1962. The inaugural men’s race was won by the home country, with Italy’s team of Mario Maino, Antonio Tagliani, Dino Zandegu and Danilo Grassi beating Denmark and Uruguay to claim gold. The first women’s TTT took place in 1987 in Villach, Austria. That time, the Soviet Union defeated the United States and Italy.
Since 1962, the TTT was held on every non-Olympic year, the only exceptions being 1963 (when no event was run) and 1964 when a 100km team mountains race was held, until 1994 when it was unceremoniously dumped from the schedule. Since then, we’ve had some great spectacles in the road race and time trial, but trying to judge the best country has been difficult because no team test against the clock has featured.
Unfortunately, even with the reintroduction, we still won’t know which country has the best team, as the format is set to be reintroduced as a competition between the Pro Teams for both men and women. 6 riders will compete for each team, covering 53.2km for the men and 32km for women, with 32 Pro, Pro Continental and Continental teams competing in the men’s and 12 in the women’s events. Its a pity its trade teams though, as I reckon Australia would go awfully close to winning it, as they would have for the past few years.
Still, it’s great to see this event back in, but picking a winner is tough. My initial thoughts floated towards Sky Procycling, who will call heavily upon Chris Froome, Michael Rogers, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas. But in the absence of Bradley Wiggins and with Froome having just completed his second top 5 finish at a Grand Tour this year, I think it might be asking a bit much.
3 teams have dominated the team time trials at the various stage races this year: Garmin-Sharp, Orica-GreenEDGE and Omega Pharma-Quick Step. Garmin-Sharp bring in a strong team but lack the potency of Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal. Still they’ll be spearheaded by David Millar, Andrew Talansky (who had a brilliant Vuelta), Jack Bauer and Johann “Summie” Vansummeren. They also won the TTT’s at the Giro d’Italia, Tour of Qatar and Tour of Utah, so they have tasted success in the discipline this year.
Orica-GreenEDGE will also be fielding a very strong team, lead-up by reigning the Under 23 World Time Trial Champion, Luke Durbridge, and National Time Trial Champion Cameron Meyer. Add names like Hepburn, Lancaster, Tuft and Langeveld and the Aussie team will be very tough to beat. They dominated the TTT’s at the Tirreno-Adriatico and Eneco Tour and will be out looking for gold once agin.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step will also be in contention for a medal, headed up by Tony Martin, reigning World Time Trial Champion. Martin had an incredible year in 2011, breaking Cancellara’s stranglehold on the race of truth. He’s been much less convincing in 2012, owing to injury, illness and the Team Sky juggernaut that’s seen them net plenty of TT wins. They will, however, have one of the deepest teams in the field, being able to call upon national time trial champions Sylvain Chavanel (France), Martin again (Germany), Peter Velits (Slovakia), Kristof Vandewalle (Belgium) and Dario Cataldo (Italy). Couple that win the experience and massive engine of Burt Grabsch, himself a form world champ against the clock and you have a recipe for a great performance.
It’s a trick decision then. Additionally, you can’t count out teams like BMC, who will field American guns Tejay Van Garderen and Taylor Phinney, RadioShack-Nissan, FDJ-BigMat or Rabobank, all of which are capable of pulling out a great performance. It’s going to be a great spectacle and the course, which has been described as very technical, undulating and incorporates some of the famous Ardennes climbs, should play a big part in who wins.
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