Preview of Riders Who Can Win the 2011 Road Race World Championship

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Preview of Riders Who Can Win the 2011 Road Race World Championship
Robert Prezioso/Getty Images
Thor Hushovd winning the 2010 World Championship Road Race

The 2011 UCI Cycling World Championships will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark from September 19th, 2011 through September 25th, 2011.  The Men's Elite Road Race will occur on Sunday the 25th, and is considered one of the most prestigious races on the calendar each year.  The winner gets the honor of wearing the World Champion's Rainbow Jersey for the next year, and a victory in the Worlds often serves as validation for an already accomplished rider. 

Two years ago in Switzerland, Cadel Evans won and silenced rumors that he lacked the gear necessary to win the largest races.  The two seasons since Evan's victory have been his most successful seasons ever, culminating in his recent 2011 Tour de France victory.  Last year Thor Hushovd won the World Championships in Australia, and has enjoyed his year in the Rainbow Jersey, winning two stages at the Tour de France and wearing the overall leader's jersey for seven days. 

The strongest and most deserving rider usually wins the World Championship Road Race.  This year's race is 266 kilometers in length and is widely expected to finish in a bunch sprint.  There is little climbing this year, although each lap, and consequently the race, ends with a short uphill section.  It is possible that the race will be decided by a reduced field sprint, but expect a big name rider with a fast sprint to the finish to stand on the top step of the podium and be presented with the Rainbow Jersey.  Rarely is there an unexpected World Champion, and here are eight riders to watch out for on Sunday the 25th, followed by my prediction.

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