Ponferrada - Spain  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  1st Kwiatkowski Michal (POL) -  2nd Gerrans Simon (AUS) - 3th  Valverde Alejandro pictured during  Championnats du Monde UCI CL / UCI RR World Championships (Men Elite) - Road - weg -  WC - Wereldkampioenschap - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2014
  • jules

    some people have been talking this up as a bunch sprint, but those pinches near the finish look like they’ll cause a selection to me.

    • Michele

      Spot on … select few it will be.

      • Sean

        Sagan, Degenkolb, Kristoff and Matthews wont be bothered by these climbs. Its going to be a good race!

        • Michele

          I can see them fighting out for the win; I can’t see them having too much support in the closing kms. Reckon they will shell out their team mates just to ensure they get to contest the finale.

        • jules

          up to 12% after 260-odd km of racing? are those the guys who will be over the top in the lead? I dunno about that.

          can they hold the wheel of a guy like Purito (is he riding?) on those slopes? they don’t have much opportunity to catch back on afterwards.

          • Michele

            I give them an outside chance; depends on what happens in the 6 hours beforehand.
            Purito riding???? Bigger question is whether Valve.piti is.

            • jules

              agreed. all that needs to happen is the Spanish team band together and push the pace hard, so that their team mates Valverde or Purito have the advan… OK those sprinters will get it :-)

          • Michele

            Had a little bit more of a look at the profile Jules. Yes, those climbs are quite step – in places. But they are so short in length. And the course doesn’t seem to get over 55 metres above sea-level.

            I can see Kristoff, if he’s got his Spring 2015 form, [a great unknown] contending for the win. I don’t think he, Sagan, Degenkolb and co., will even look at them as climbs. For them it will be about near maximum effort the required 1-2 minutes and power over them.

            You could draw some comparisons between P-R and RVV with this course, in as much as getting over those bergs, and pave sections requires similar repetitive maximum efforts. The biggest difference is the last ‘climb’ on the weekend comes so close to the finish line – whereas both of those classics gave them some respite before the finale.

            That all said, Kristoff had no problems getting over the Paterberg in a very select leading group. And Degenkolb was as strong as any over the Carrefour de l’Arbre.

            And I reckon the watts those two would’ve been putting out on that berg / section of pave would be similar to what will be required in the closing kilometres on Sunday [Monday morning].

            But as said, it all comes down to what happens in the 5 or 6 hours beforehand the finale that will determine if they have a shot.

            • jules

              good analysis Michele. it’s probably quite line-ball so maybe there’s no way of predicting with certainty. but:
              1. cobbles favour big, powerful riders in a way that smooth bitumen doesn’t – which partly explains the Kristoffs getting over the Paterbergs
              2. it’s the proximity to the finish line that counts too – it’s one thing for a climber or puncheur to creep ahead over a berg with 10 or more km to go – they can be dragged back gradually – but here there’s little time.

              it probably won’t go to a pure climber, but a puncheur like Gilbert may do well. having said that, the riders Sean listed are arguably puncheurs..

              • Michele

                I think the best thing about it all is that it could be quite line-ball – just as you said. There will be a measure of uncertainty about it.
                For instance, let’s say Purito or Gilbert attack on that final climb and get a 3-4 second gap just before the top. What happens next? Who blinks first?
                Hypothetical; Sagan is there with Degenkolb. Will they just look at each other? Will Sagan go, and tow Degenkolb back to the attackers?
                It’s not like Amstel Gold where they’ve ridden it so many times they can be a bit more tactical and measured about it. There’s the potential for a lot of ‘how the race was won’ moments to happen in the final 2-3 minutes. Whoever gets the win will no doubt have done so with a good measure of nerves of steel.

                • jules

                  the other factor is intranational team support. some (Spanish, French) are infamous for not helping each other and riding as trade teams. I think the parcours usually has the biggest say, but my (off the top of my head) impression is that there haven’t been an awful lot of pure sprinters – who need organised support – win WCs.

                  • Michele

                    All in all I reckon it has the potential to be a cracking race. In the last 1/2 hour I’ve suddenly become pumped for it.
                    Let’s hope the scenery is a little more inspiring than the motorway used in last year’s race.

                    • Winky

                      Yes, the scenery last year sucked – ugly race visually. But this looks worse. Just mostly flat, deserted wide downtown streets, some motorway, and with some spectators at a few key points is what I’d anticipate.

          • nicklothian

            Only 100m at 12% though.

            If you combined the Kemmelberg from Gent–Wevelgem, with a race somewhat like a combination of Amstel Gold and Milan San Remo you’d get something a bit like this course. Look at the people who do well in those races and you’ll find the winner.

            Someone like Purito needs the longer climbs to be competitive. Liège–Bastogne–Liège’s final climb is 1km at 11% (after a lot more climbing during the race), and that’s where it ends up being a shootout between the climbers like Purito (2 podiums, 0 wins) vs riders like Gilbert (2 podiums, 1 win).

            I think Valverde would like it a bit harder too, but it’s the WC, so he’ll be in the mix at the end for sure.

            • jules

              it’ll be interesting to see. it’s hard to judge whether the hill is enough to shed the heavier riders from just looking at the profile.

              • Daniel

                My take is that it isn’t long enough to shed those who are ready to have a red hot go at it, but it will be enough to disrupt a full sprint train. Whilst even someone like Greipel could probably dig deep enough to get over it, you wouldn’t be so sure of that that you would stick Degenkolb behind him and four other Germans who “probably” will get over it. If a gap forms and he’s four back, he’s in trouble. This is where Matthews will have the advantage; you wouldn’t have any worries plonking Clarke and Gerrans in front of Matthews to give him at least a two man lead-out.

  • Michele

    Now, can someone tell me the advantages of wearing an helmet with a cycling cap. Where’s the luft???

    • Tim

      The dirty air on his cap matches the dirty sanchez on his lip. Its a fashion thing.

      • icepro

        I’m guessing you know the real meaning of that expression?

  • SG

    Hey Guys
    SBS coverage from 2250 to 0700 on Sunday. I would be keen to catch the last 3-4 laps, but don’t want to switch on at 5.30am to see them replaying the finish and handing out medals. I am struggling to find any exact start times (only coverage and streaming times) and estimated finish times, despite extensive Google searching. Can anyone help?

    • SBS website seems to suggest coverage will be from 10:50pm to 6am (http://www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral/article/2015/07/29/upcoming-cycling-sbs). Richmond 2015 website indicates that the race starts at 9am local time (11pm AEST) and finishes at 3:40pm local time (5:40am AEST)

      • SG

        Thanks Matt! I didn’t look hard enough.

      • SG

        Other thing I thought might be interesting is to do the Zwift Richmond course at the same time as the riders. Have a split screen with SBS stream & Zwift login. See if you can keep up for a lap.. or two! Might be busy on the course.

        • That’s a really cool idea. Might make it easier to stay awake for those first few laps at stupid o’clock.

          • SG

            I haven’t checked to see what course they will have up at that time. I know Zwift were alternating between the Island & Richmond. I haven’t been on the trainer for a few weeks (a good thing). If you have any email contacts, given CTs recent Zwift article, maybe you could see if they can have the course up for the race?? Would be good marketing for them also. Like the Jens ride.

            • Rupert Walsh

              Zwift are running the Richmond course during the race. There’s an organised endurance ride running at the same time, if you’re up for it! Check out the ‘Zwift Riders’ group on facebook for details.

  • Andy B

    My guesses would be Valverde, Nibali, Sagan, GVA, Gilbert & Matthews
    In no particular order (except perhaps sagan in second)

    • Bex

      i’m thinking GVA for second instead of sagan, he’s been a nearly man for way too many races. maybe mathews, gva, sagan for my guess.

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