Preview: the world individual time trial championships at the Pearl Qatar

by Jeanine Laudy


With only one day between the team time trial and individual time trial, the time trial specialists aren’t given any rest.

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the women will time trial their way through the Qatari desert between 1.15 and 4.30 p.m. local time (8.15-11.30 a.m. American EDT, 12.15-3.30 p.m. in Central European Time, 9.15 p.m.-12.30 a.m. in Australia’s AEDT), sandwiched between the junior and elite men categories.

The world championships individual time trial

Team time trials and individual time trials differ mainly in one thing: there are no teammates to recover behind in the latter. That makes the individual time trial one of the hardest, but most exciting disciplines in cycling.

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The 28.9 kilometer ITT route is made up of two loops on the Pearl Qatar, the artificial island on the east coast of Qatar.

The riders pass the finish line once before the actual finish, and with another intermediate time check at La Plage South, this means there are three time checks along the way.

With Rabo-Liv’s Anouska Koster in mind, who crashed heavily in the team time trial as she was affected by a heat stroke, it looks like it’s going to be a matter of who can handle the heat the most that will stand the best chance of taking the world title.

The favourites

1. Anna van der Breggen

Silver at the European time trial championships only one month ago, bronze at the Olympic time trial in Rio and a second place in the Giro Rosa time trial stage; Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) has been doing quite well in the individual time trials this year.

City Trophy Elsy Jacobs Time Trial women 2015

Add to that her runner-up position of least year’s world ITT championships – only 2 seconds behind winner Linda Villumsen! – and it’s obvious that Van der Breggen is one to seriously consider for the world title this year. Especially since Villumsen won’t be in Qatar to defend her world title.

Although the Rio climbs and Richmond hills might suit Van der Breggen better than the horizontal roads in Qatar, this Dutch multitalent is known to rock flat time trials too, so we’re expecting lots from the Olympic road champion.

2. Katrin Garfoot

Katrin Garfoot tt2016

Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS) won the UCI1.1 Chrono Champenois, one of only a few stand-alone UCI-sanctioned individual time trials throughout the season, and as the race is on the calendar in September, it’s traditionally the dress rehearsal for the world championships.

Garfoot is the current Australian and Oceania time trial champion and since she’s pretty consistent in her time trial results, we consider her 9th place at the Olympic Games time trial the result of a day off. Watch out for this 35-year-old German-born powerhouse.

3. Ellen van Dijk

Ellen van Dijk’s (Boels-Dolmans) individual time trial at the Olympic Games in Rio didn’t go according to plan, when she, showing great form, ended up in the gutter after the wind took her front wheel and blew her to the side. It ended her hopes of becoming Olympic champion and as it turned out, also her chances of even earning an Olympic medal.

Boels Rental Ladies Tour 2014 - stage - 1 ITT

Van Dijk redeemed herself at the European road championships, where she won the individual time trial ahead of Van der Breggen and Rio ITT bronze medallist Olga Zabelinskaya (BePink).

As the current European Games ITT champion and member of the new team time trial world champions, Boels-Dolmans, she is determined to take back the world title on the individual time trial that she lost two years ago.

4. Lisa Brennauer 

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It’s Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) who Van Dijk lost her world title to in 2014. Brennauer wasn’t off to a great start this season, but it looked like she was starting to find her legs again in her home race at the Auensteiner Radsporttage, where she won the first stage and finished third in the individual time trial.

She lost the world title on the team time trial together with her Canyon-SRAM teammates yesterday, but she looked very strong in her performance, so there’s a big chance she’ll be on the podium of the individual time trial for the third year in a row.

5. Olga Zabelinskaya

Olga Zabelinskaya has been out of competition for two years, following a doping ban, but she’s back and stronger than ever.

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Zabelinskaya earned two bronze medals at London 2012 and improved her time trial performance in Rio, where she won silver behind Kristin Armstrong. She added a bronze medal at the European ITT championships to her trophy case, so it looks like she’s ready to go for the medals at the world championships.

6. Annemiek van Vleuten

The distastrous ending of her Olympic campaign saw Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-AIS) immediately shift focus towards a new goal: the individual time trial in Qatar. She didn’t participate in the 2015 world championships as she was still recovering from a crash at the time, but now she’s ready and more determined than ever to give it another shot.

Lotto Belgium Tour stage 1
Van Vleuten regained the national time trial title this year and, as a true prologue specialist, took the leader’s jersey in the Lotto Belgium Tour, just one month after her horrific crash in Rio. An altitude training camp, together with Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) finished off her preparation for Qatar.

How to follow the race

The race is on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 1.15 p.m. local time (8.15 a.m. EDT, 12.15 p.m. CET, 9.15 p.m. AEDT). We’re expecting all major sports channels (Eurosport, UniversalSport, SBS) to broadcast both the women’s and men’s individual time trials, so check your local listings for broadcasting details in your area.

If you’re relying on your computer to watch the race, check Procycling Live, Steephill.tv and Cycling Fans for livestream links.

On Twitter, @UCIDoha2016 is the official account for the world road championships. Use the official hashtag #UCIDoha2016 for all posts on the event.

More information about the race can be found at dohacycling2016.com.

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Who is your favourite for the world title?

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