As promised, the road races at Imola Worlds will be really hard

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When the UCI announced last month that the 2020 Road World Championships would take place in Imola, Italy, after public health measures made it impossible to host the race in Switzerland, the governing body said that it was working on a road race course of similar difficulty to the one initially on the cards for Aigle-Martigny.

The UCI unveiled a parcours on Friday that makes good on that promise.

The elite men’s and women’s road races at Imola Worlds will see riders take on a circuit of 28.8 kilometers that starts and finishes at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari motor circuit. Each lap features two main ascents, with the Mazzolano climb followed by the Cima Gallisterna. Both climbs are short but feature some very, very steep sections.

The men’s road race at Imola Worlds will cover nine laps of the circuit for 258.2 total kilometers.

The men will race nine laps on the challenging circuit for a grand total of 258.2 kilometers and roughly 5,000 meters of climbing. That’s more than was initially planned for Aigle-Martigny, and even more than the total elevation change from the Innsbruck World Championships, where Alejandro Valverde bested Romain Bardet and Mike Woods.

The women’s race will complete five laps for 143 kilometers and 2,800 total meters of climbing, also significantly more elevation gain than the Innsbruck women’s race, where Anna van der Breggen ascended to victory over Amanda Spratt and Tatiana Guderzo.

In other words, the climbers will like what they see for the road race in Imola.

“It will be a difficult course: Riders will need to cope with repeated efforts, there will not be much recovery between the two difficulties, and the second will be followed by three kilometers of descent on a winding road,” said Italian national coach Davide Cassani in a UCI press release. “Team tactics will be important to get the leaders to the end. The finish will be solo or in a small group.”

The UCI also unveiled the route for the time trial on Friday, and unlike the road race it will be a mostly flat affair that should favor big engines.

The time trial course at Imola Worlds should see a fast race.

Both the men and women will cover 31.7 kilometers in the TT.

“It will be a very fast circuit,” Cassani said. “Apart from two small uphill sections in the last five kilometers before entering the Imola Autodrome, it will be ideal for the pure specialists. We should see averages of over 50km/h.”

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