Cycling World Championships 2013: Day 4 Preview and Final Results Prediction
One of the showpiece events in this year’s cycling Road World Championships takes place this Wednesday, with the Elite Men's time trial.
Rarely has there been such anticipation surrounding this race, but such is the class of this year's field that the 2013 version promises to be one of the most competitive in the competition's history.
Here's a preview of Wednesday's main event, with a look at the leading contenders as well as a few last-minute predictions.
When: Wednesday, September 25. 14:15 BST.
Where: Tuscany, Italy. Montecatini Terme to Florence.
Watch: BBC 2, 13:40-16:10
The championships return to Italy for the first time since 2008 and the Elite Men's time trial travels a gruelling 58 kilometres from Montecatini Terme to Florence.
The route offers no significant climb but is the first to cover more than 50 kilometres since 2006 and is the longest route of any previous Road World Championship.
Three names stand above the rest of the pack as main contenders for the title: Sir Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara.
After such a stellar 2012, culminating in an Olympic gold and an unprecedented Tour de France triumph, Wiggins’ 2013 barely left first gear until September.
He struggled at the Giro d'Italia and withdrew from the Tour de France, only producing any form of note at the recent Tour of Britain. Against a moderate field he once again dominated at the time trial and will look to build upon that performance in Tuscany.
Cancellara and Martin both showed formidable form at the Vuelta a Espana, with several entertaining tussles. They have claimed six of the past seven World Championship titles between them, with Cancellara winning four, but Martin victorious in the previous two.
The German arrives as defending champion and his 2011 win may prove especially pivotal, as he managed to nudge both Wiggins and Cancellara down to second and third.
Who Wins on Wednesday?
In terms of a dark horse, keep track of Taylor Phinney. The American finished second last year, a mere seven seconds behind Martin, and also claimed an impressive fourth-place finish at the 2012 Olympics.
At 23, he seems poised for an imminent break-out, but may still find the top three a little too strong in this year's race.
Having captured more time trial wins than any other rider, Cancellara's primary focus may be on Sunday's road race, leaving Martin and Wiggins scrapping for victory.
Expect it to be close, but the fact Wiggins' 2013 form has been such a contrast to the year before will work in Martin's favour.
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