The World Championship Road Race is tomorrow in Copenhagen and everybody wants to know who will win. What — you haven’t figured that out already? Okay, Twisted Spoke is ready to call this race because we’re experts and it’s our job to help the infirm.
Italy & Bennati
First off, Daniele has had a fair amount of bad luck this year. Not injuries, second places. Early in the season he just couldn’t get across the line first. But just in time for Copenhagen, he’s got himself back to form and speed with a stage win in the Vuelta. Plus he’s a handsome Italian guy who will look fantastic in the rainbow jersey — not like Hushovd with his crooked, slightly buck-teeth. It’s tempting to throw a bet down on him just because it feels right but we’re not gonna do that. Still, we think he’s got a decent shot.
Slovakia & Sagan
This guy is such a massive talent that he could win despite his young age and the questions about the 260K distance and despite only having three teammates. He’s downplaying his chances and that’s fair enough. No pressure on him and he doesn’t necessarily need a train to get him into Copenhagen first like Mark Cavendish. That said, it feels too early for him to win and the Cycling Gods must insist on another year or two of seasoning. But wait … forget those old Cycling Gods because Sagan could take this thing. One of our favorites.
USA & Farrar
Here’s a rider we’d love to see win and he has the talent, team support and favorable course to pull it off. It would be a triumph after the terrible loss of close friend Wouter Weylandt. The Battling Buddhist is a smart, classy guy and a terrific competitor. We’re pulling for him but sadly, and we hate to say this, Farrar is lacking that little bit of negative energy that sprinters sometime need — the fire and anger of Cavendish, the ego of Cipolini, the arrogance of Petacchi. He’s a nice guy and nice guys finish near the front but not on the podium.
Norway & Hushovd and Boasson Hagen
Like Philippe Gilbert, Hushovd has a knack for delivering big results in big races. He certainly did that in Geelong last year and just killed it in the Tour de France. He knows how to read a race and the tag team with Boasson Hagen is a dangerous one. Hushovd can be opportunistic and be there at the end no matter how few teammates he has. But two rainbows in two years? Again, just doesn’t feel right.
Spain & Freire.
We like Oscar, always have, but no. He’s proven us all wrong so many years that we should know better by now. But at 35 years of age, it seems unlikely that he can pull off a fourth rainbow. Cosmically, it seems wrong and we’re going to write Oscar off the podium. Adios amigo.
Germany & Greipel
We haven’t see anything all year long except for — granted — a tour stage win that makes us believe he’s capable in Copenhagen. His thighs are massive and he is super fast but what we’re not seeing is that confident attitude. He’s trying his best and that’s pretty good but not for the win. The youngster Marcel Kittel is a guy with momentum but can he go the long distance? Probably not.
Belgium & Gilbert
Everyone fears the boss-man, Filippe Gilbert. He toys with people, then destroys them, crushes their hopes, makes them question their status as serious bike racers. This course isn’t made for his talents but if the race is hard enough, he’ll be there at the end and more than likely will initiate the race winning move.
The irony of an easy course is that everyone knows they have to make it harder so this race goes right from the gun. That’s good news for Gilbert and so is the uphill finish. Not to mention his secret alliance with BMC buddy Thor Hushovd — people are talking about that and it means … nothing. Will he be marked out of the race? He’s so good, that’s hardly possible.
The Aussie Army
On somebody’s paper, the Australians have one of the most powerful teams in the race. Uhh, me thinks not. Baden Cooke is washed up, Heinrich Haussler — as much as we like him — just isn’t back to his race winning form of two years ago and Sutton is a wild card only. That leaves Milan San Remo winner Matthew Harley Goss. Can he win the multi-colored lycra? You’re damn right he can. We have Goss as one of the top favorites.
Great Britain & Cav
Well, we hate to be the thousandth person to call Copenhagen a win for Cavendish, but that’s the way we see it. He’s on form, he’s hungry and he’s got seven guys 100% committed to him. While it ain’t the HTC-Highroad team, when you’ve got TT giants like Bradley Wiggins and David Millar bringing you home, you are in a very good hands. The Brits know he’ll need the “ride of his life” but we think he can deliver the goods.
That’s the story: the formerly chubby little guy from the Isle of Man is world champion. A boy racer in a rainbow