The European Championships takes place in Italy this year. It will be a race where many people can win. We have 3435 climbing meters in 182 km but most of the climbing takes place in the first 61.5 km. From there, the riders do eight laps on a 13.2 km course.
The race profile
The ascend and descend of Cadriai.
I think we will see some sort of opening here. It is the hardest climb of the race.
The circuit in Trento (8 laps x 13.2 km, 250 climbing meters per lab)
A relatively easy circuit when it comes to climbing. We have the Povo climb (3.6 km at 4.7%, max 9.9%), a short descend, and a flat run-in to the finish line. It looks to be a difficult course to bring riders up front back. Half of it is either uphill, where the most time can be gained followed by a fast downhill section. The flat parcours are in Trento with plenty of twists and turns.
It is on a double lane and new asphalt.
The finale is quite technical with three corners inside the last 750 meters. A left turn with 750 meters left, a very sharp and narrow turn with 450 meters left unto cobbles for the remainder of the race. The last corner comes with just 200 meters left. In case of a bunch sprint, you will need a very good lead-out!
How will the race unfold?
The big question for me is the early part of the race. We have three climbs and 1547 climbing meters in the first 64.5 km. We also have a tricky descend from the Candriai. The terrain really invites strong teams who can get a strong rider in the breakaway.
So who looks to have the best cards? The teams who are going to dominate the race will be Belgium, France, Slovenia and Italy. We have a few strong riders from the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland too. Let’s go over the nations one by one. First, a weather watch.
If you simply think some of the teams will settle for a regular bunch sprint, you are wrong!
The weather forecast for Trento.
- Belgium bring a team that hopes to animate the race. Their goal is for the race not to end in a sprint. Evenepoel recently had to abandon Benelux Tour due to feeling unwell but he put in a stellar time in the UEC TT. In that same race, Campenaerts showed his deviation from time trial specialist to a strong rider in lumpy terrain. A 3rd place overall was a brilliant result for him. Dylan Teuns found some good legs in Deutchland Tour after a mediocore Tour de Pologne. Stan Dewulf was on many tongues in La Vuelta a Espana but did not get any big result from the race in Spain. He still very good towards the end. They have plenty of offensive cards. They will make it very hard for the others teams to get a sprint.
- France bring a solid set of climbers. Bardet had a good run in Spain but I doubt we have enough climbing for him. Other strong riders are Barguil, who in recent years has done well in one-day races. Cosnefroy has not had the best season due to a knee injury early this season. Recently, he won Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France and Tour du Jura Cycliste. I think he is their best shot. They also have Madouas who has been doing well in the same races as Cosnefroy. They do not want a sprint either.
- Slovenia has two spearheads and they are big. Mohoric and Pogacar. Mohoric showed stellar form in Benelux Tour and Tour de Pologne. He is flying just about now. He climbs well, he is powerfull on the flat and few outsprint him in a reduced bunch sprint. Pogacar made his return in Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France where he looked good but could not follow the best riders. It is not a good sign ahead of the European Championsships. I think Mohoric is a better shot for this parcour.
- Italy has the strongest squad in the peloton. Colbrelli looked invinsible in Benelux Tour. He does not mind a bit of hard racing, it will just be to his advantage. With Bagioli, Moscon and Ulissi it will be interesting to see how they play their cards. After reading their pre-race interview, they look to be riding for Trentin and Colbrelli. Let us not forget Ganna or Cattaneo, two big engines to control things. They are going to dictate the race and they have won the UEC European Championship the last three editions. This time, they do not have the fastest rider. They will need to drop a fair deal of sprinters if they are to win on home soil.
- Netherlands, Spain and Portugal has some interesting riders too. We have Mollema and Schelling for the Oranje. Two very offensive riders who I both think will attack. It is in their nature. Spain brings a good squad on paper but none of them have been impressive the last months. I doubt they will have a big impact. Portugal brings Almeida and it is a good route for him. It will be difficult to drop him and for many it will be impossible to beat him in a flat sprint too.
- Some of the other faster riders are Sam Bennett, Sagan and Kristoff. The Irishman should struggle due to plenty of the teams want to attack and we have 3435 climbing meters in total. Sagan is starting to find his way back a little. He was good in Benelux Tour even though he was part of a crash on the first stage. He was 10th on the Queen Stage around Geraardsbergen. I hope he goes well, but he is not going to start as my favorite. Kristoff, the man who starts his sprint too early after a hard day in the saddle. He was strong in Tour of Norway and Deutchland Tour. It is a strong team the Norweigans bring too.