Cadel Evans has tipped Belgium’s Wout van Aert as the person to beat in Sunday’s glamour elite males’s highway race on the UCI Highway World Championships in Wollongong.
Australian legend Evans has been a eager observer as an envoy for the world champs and the Tour de France winner additionally received the coveted highway race rainbow jersey in Switzerland in 2009.
He agreed with the evaluation of Stan Sport biking host Michael Tomalaris, who felt among the sport’s huge weapons could have been foxing and utilizing final weekend’s elite time trial as considerably of a coaching train for Sunday’s huge dance.
Watch Stan Sport’s unique protection of the 2022 UCI Highway World Championships from September 18-25 with every race streaming ad-free, live and on demand
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Norway’s Tobias Voss was a shock winner forward of Switzerland’s Stefan Kung whereas Belgium huge gun Remco Evenepoel claimed bronze.
However the race’s different rock stars – Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar and Italy’s Filippo Ganna – might solely muster sixth and seventh respectively.
Climbing specialist Pogacar is a two-time Tour de France champion, whereas Ganna had received the final two world championships time trials.
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“Yeah usually going into a contest like this you’d have a few lead-up races,” Evans instructed Extensive World of Sports activities.
“They usually weren’t obtainable to those riders due to the travel and time zones and so forth. So a few riders have in all probability opted to try this.
“Clearly Evenepoel coming third remains to be an important consequence for a coaching run however I feel he is additionally utilizing it to get his legs going and prepare for Sunday.”
Van Aert is the bookmaker’s favorite forward of Pogacar, Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands), Evenepoel and Julian Alaphilippe (France).
“I nonetheless suppose Wout van Aert is the person to beat on this course,” Evans mentioned.
“Actually Pogacar goes to have an enormous crack on the climb. It is a exhausting climb but it surely’s not very lengthy and it is a good distance from the end.
“So I feel it’ll be extra suited to guys like van Aert, presumably Evenepoel however extra van Aert, van der Poel and somebody like our personal Michael Matthews and even Alberto Bettiol (Italy).”
Matthews, the 31-year-old from Canberra, is a nicely rounded and battle hardened rider rated sixth favorite with the bookies.
Requested what Matthews needed to do to duplicate his personal world title heroics, Evans was succinct.
“Get during the last climb as near the entrance guys as attainable. As a result of if it comes all the way down to a small group, that is the place he’ll have a very good likelihood to win from a small group.
“Let’s keep in mind in 2010 in Australia he received the under-23s (world title) and he is been twice second on the worlds. So he is aware of easy methods to prepare for these races and is aware of easy methods to cope with it.
“His highway captain and proper hand man will probably be Simon Clarke, who was my proper hand man in 2009. So it is all trying prefer it’s in place for an enormous consequence.”
The Australian workforce did endure a setback earlier than the world champs when Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley examined optimistic for COVID-19.
His health for Sunday’s highway race stays a significant query mark.
“Having simply had COVID myself I would not have too many excessive expectations of him sadly,” Evans mentioned.
“He’ll even be trying ahead to world champs sooner or later, him and Ben O’Connor.
“And clearly with a tough climb like this, being there within the last to comply with strikes of fellows like Pogacar and the pure climbers, that is what they wish to do. However getting COVID, let’s get lifelike about this, that would imply he is wherever on Sunday.”
As for Saturday’s elite girls’s highway race, Evans tipped Australia’s Grace Brown as a significant hope.
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“If she might simply go one place higher, that might make the world championships for me,” Evans mentioned.
“Being 30, she’s simply coming into her finest now. That is the norm for biking and he or she’s bought the shape.
“She’s had a comparatively quiet early/mid-season which is often what occurs to the individual that wins the world championships so I am hoping that is going to rely for her.”
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