The Worlds: thoroughbreds and dark horses

Like many, I’m really looking forward to the Worlds. The 2009 race was great, the efforts of Cancellara and Evans made the race very exciting.

But whisper it…what if the 2010 version isn’t that good? The course isn’t too selective and in previous editions where the course isn’t too challenging we’ve seen a few surprise winners who are miles from being the best in the world. I’m thinking Oscar Freire, Romains Vainsteins, Igor Astarloa and Oscar Camenzind and even Alessandro Ballan. All good riders but the very best in the world at the time? Not necessarily.

Александр Колобнев, темная лошадка

In a similar vein, whilst I’d like to see Gilbert, Pozzato, Cancellara, Farrar and Boasson-Hagen and other thoroughbreds in the mix, it’s possible team tactics negate the big names and a surprise winner emerges.

Instead, the likes of Allan Davis, Francisco Ventoso or Danilo Hondo could sneak out a sprint. Alternatively in the last two laps dark horse riders like Aleksandr Kolobnev or Nicolas Roche could be in the mix with a well-timed attack. Now we can say the Russian is a prime candidate for the win, he’s strong and can sprint and in some ways makes a very plausible candidate… but the best in the world? Hmm.

Clearly you don’t win a 262km race by chance but it’s entirely possible that the race doesn’t live up to my expectations. History suggests an easier course simply allows more riders their chance.

4 thoughts on “The Worlds: thoroughbreds and dark horses”

  1. Anonymous, so would I. But he needs a good team and a selective course. By all accounts the course is too hard for pure sprinters and there's plenty of chance to make the race tough but the risk is that a few lesser riders are in with a chance.

    You really want the worlds to be a war of attrition where there's only one man standing after six hours. That way there's no doubt about the winner, only bike racing doesn't work like this, there's often an element of chance and a clever rider has to know how to seize this luck.

  2. to be fair many people were saying that Cadel Evans wasn't a deserving world champion after his win due to his poor season and his personality.

    Next thing you know, he steps up his game and suddenly everyone is impressed with him and talks about being such a deserving champion.

    Personally while Gilbert would be the sentimental favorite, I wouldn't mind seeing Kolobnev. He is always animating races and it might settle him down enough to stop the suicide attacks all the time.

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