Who’s going to the Worlds?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Denmark World Champs

Each year the qualification criteria for riding the World Championships varies but the idea is that countries with a higher ranking have the right to send larger teams to the race. For example Spain tops the UCI’s World Tour ranking and it can start nine riders to the men’s elite road race. This is true for all of the top-10 ranked countries, so long as each country has nine riders with World Tour ranking points. The top-10 are picked at the end of the week but today they stand as Spain, Italy, Australia, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Britain, Netherlands, USA and France.

But another clause says that teams have to have nine riders with ranking points and both Britain and Luxembourg fall foul here. Britain has eight riders with World Tour points, meaning it can have eight riders in Denmark; Luxembourg has only two with the Schleck brothers but another sub-clause says Luxembourg must start six riders.

The rest of the selection criteria are fiendish to understand, a series of paragraphs relating to annex rankings and conditional situations. The lead nation within the UCI’s Africa Tour can have six riders, the second nation can start five. That’s Morocco and Eritrea. It’s similar for the Asia and America rankings. But there are all sorts of what-ifs so I’m awaiting the confirmation from the UCI due next Monday.

The Eneco Tour on now is the last chance for nations to get ranking points. It could matter since Switzerland is only a few points away from France’s top-10 position. But riders are unlikely to try bids for national glory because they’re on duty for their employer. Besides, the Swiss Federation was hesitant about sending riders to Geelong in Australia last year because the quota to bring riders was proving expensive, and not many riders were available to support Fabian Cancellara.

Size matters
Whilst cycling is an individual sport, having a bigger team is a real advantage for the Worlds. For sure some teams are not homogeneous, for example Luxembourg is supposed to field six riders but it remains to be seen if the Schlecks will even ride and most will struggle to name other riders from the Duchy. Above all the 2011 route is relatively flat and it will suit a sprinter and therefore organised chases and then sprint trains for the closing moments.

But whilst countries can take a certain number of riders to Denmark… several riders will not want to go; for some the course is not suitable and for others it comes late in the season. So this is about the number who can go rather than identifying the individuals who will actually go.

Flashing Pedals August 9, 2011 at 10:59 am

The UCI Road World Titles are a poorly timed event.

Held at a time of year, when it limits the events interest for many riders, with ‘qualifying numbers’ for teams – adding to the stupidity.
At one stage in the past, the ‘winning’ country from the preceding year, could field 12 riders + the previous years winner.

Nowadays, it is equally ill conceived. The countries should have a basic 8 man team – who gets selected, is done on merit and quality. If countries have no ability to field the full team, then so be it, better that, than oversubscribing other nationalities to distort results.

I also think it is an excellent idea, that riders with past doping bans, are ineligible to be selected by their countries.

jza August 9, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Maybe more important to have teammates from your trade team??? World’s tactics can get crazy, lots of favors being called in.

Sheree August 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I’m going to Copenhagen. I love watching the World Championships, so many races in just a few days. However, I do agree that the qualification rules could do with an overhaul and simplification.

Beau August 10, 2011 at 6:12 am

I think Australia will bring it home in Elite Mens Road race with Matthew Goss and U23 Mens Road race with Michael Hepburn. They have numbers to sit on the front and pull back a breakaway as well..

Mike Short August 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Copenhagen is an interesting course. Its a very flat parcours that finishes uphill with a seemingly docile climb of only c30m. On the face of it its tailor made for a big bunch sprint. But ……….

There are a multitude of machinations that can complicate matters. Weather is a big issue. There will be big breaks. Cavendish is in the field and WANTS this title. How many teams will chase down the breaks only to hand it to him? Will GB have a strong enough team to close down a serious break then lead out Cav?

My prediction, for what its worth, is that a group of 5 – 10 will get away and stay away. Who wind from that group will depend on who is lucky to make it. Random!!

David Fitzgerald August 12, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I think the biggest underlying problem here comes back to the UCI Points system.

PT August 15, 2011 at 4:02 am

@ Beau – agree that the Aussies will be strong but don’t you mean Micheal Matthews? Watched him take the win in Geelong, a great day.

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