Radioshack-Leopard relying on youth, plus Cancellara as always in Worlds TTT
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Radioshack-Leopard relying on youth, plus Cancellara as always in Worlds TTT

by Kyle Moore at 11:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Astana bringing many of their Vuelta stage one victors to earn dark horse status

Fabian CancellaraThe team time trial gets World Championships week underway on Sunday in Florence, and as usual, Radioshack-Leopard will ask Fabian Cancellara to provide much of the horsepower to motor their six-man squad to the finish. Cancellara will go for the individual men’s title in the middle of the week on a similar course, and how well Radioshack-Leopard performs on Sunday will be a strong indication of how well Cancellara could go three days later.

The two time trial courses are nearly identical, with Sunday’s team route spanning 57 kilometres. It is a technical start leading to the first time check at seven kilometres, but it is a flat and straight run to the second check and beyond, before the road starts to turn again heading to the finish in Florence.

Radioshack-Leopard will mix youth with experience behind Cancellara, as Bob Jungels, Jesse Sergent, Hayden Roulston, Markel Irizar, and Yaroslav Popovych are set to start.

Team director Josu Larrazabel gave his assessment of the course in comments on the team website. "This is a long TTT, longer than usual at least,” Larrazabel explained. “The course is not technical, except for the passage through Pistoia and the last kilometers in Firenze. This means the speed will be very high, especially since the roads have been re-surfaced and the new asphalt is really smooth. There are several long stretches, which means that the riders, once they are on full speed, hardly come across something that will slow them down.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the average speed of the winning team will be over 55 kph. We have been working specifically on speed, with a lot of focus on pacing. We will keep our speed high from the start. Stronger riders should not ride faster than the others, they should just take a longer pull. It will be important to get a good start, because I see it difficult to make up time once the race is well underway."

Radioshack-Leopard operated without Cancellara in the championship TTT a year ago, and finished 8th with Popovych, Sergent, Jens Voigt and Tony Gallopin. Now with the Swiss champion, as well as the supremely talented Luxembourger Jungels, Radioshack-Leopard will shoot for a podium finish.

"We have been preparing for this race since the beginning of the week, here in Tuscany,” Larrazabel added. “We have some specialists, like Fabian Cancellara, who was four times World Time Trial Champion, and Hayden Roulston and Jesse Sergent, who both have an impressive palmares on the track. Then we have Bob Jungels, who has proven a lot already in the TT and on the road, despite his young age. And then we have two super strong 'rouleurs' in Markel Irizar and Popo, who both finished the Vuelta in support of Chris Horner.

“We also had Jens Voigt and Nelson Oliveira at the training camp, who both have some great shape and could have a spot in any other team, because of their value. But unfortunately we can only take six riders. Both Jens and Nelson are very supportive of the selection. The atmosphere this week was great."

Astana hoping to produce another surprise after Vuelta a España win:

Team Astana went to the opening team time trial in the Vuelta a España looking to protect Vincenzo Nibali and get the Italian off to a good start in his general classification bid. Then they went out and won the race, by ten seconds ahead of Cancellara, eventual race winner Chris Horner, and Radioshack-Leopard.

Astana won’t have Nibali in the World Time Trial Championship, but they will have five riders out of their participating six who competed in the winning Vuelta squad.

Janez Brajkovic and Jakob Fuglsang are the leaders, with powerhouses Andriy Grivko and Alessandro Vanotti working as the big engines. All-rounder Tanel Kangert will also contribute well, and the new man in is Kazakh rider Dmitriy Gruzdev.

Astana director Alexandr Shefer said that preparation was the key to his team’s Vuelta win, and the same goes for the Worlds course. Although the less technical route of more than double the length will require more power, which Shefer believes he has.

"At the Vuelta we won the TTT opener because we had the right combination of riders for the course and we prepared for each corner and turn with the guys,” he stated. “It was a technical stage that took all of our strengths and gave us a great victory. At Worlds we have most of that core Vuelta squad, plus some extra engine power for a course that is flatter and less complicated. We are optimistically confident in our chances for a good result against other teams on Sunday.”

UCI world team time trial championships (Sept. 22):

Radioshack-Leopard:
Fabian Cancellara, Markel Irizar, Bob Jungels, Yaroslav Popovych, Hayden Roulston, Jesse Sergent

Astana Pro Team:
Janez Brajkovic, Jakob Fuglsang, Andriy Grivko, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Tanel Kangert, Alessandro Vanotti

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