For the first time in a few years, I am writing about the land Down Under. Normally, it would be the season starter but this year, it is almost the last race I will be previewing this season. The course is not very long, something I personally think is a shame. I do like a 50 km route to find the best winner. This course bring something different – something we also need to cheerish.
The route is 34.12 km and has 312 altitude meters.
It is a time trial that has about everything. A few hills, tricky turns and long straights. You must be able to do everything tomorrow, if you want to win. Therefore, I can’t really say it suits the powerhouses or the climbers. It suits the versatile time trialist and the shorter route also makes it so more riders have a chance to do a surprise win.
As you can see, the first 7.5 km are not very flat. It is up and down. No long straights. But it is not very difficult hills either. It is more like bumps for the riders. Then, the Dumfries Ave, the T1 and T2 timechecks. Not very difficult, but the run-in there is not very easy – but something they should be able to manage.
Off the T1, there is still a technical part left, until they reach the point furthest towards north. From here, it is a long straight line to the finishline. But do remember, they do the lap twice and I think it will be the second time around, they goats will be seperated from the sheep.
Weather is key in time trials. The first rider goes down the ramp at (local times now): 13:42:00 and the last goes down the ramp at 16:19:30. I’m unsure how quick they can ride – but my best guess is Ganna is done under 40 minutes. That means we are looking at 13:30 – 17:30 just to be certain.
It looks like everyone will have a blue sky to ride under and a gentle breeze from west. It looks like it will change just slightly for the latest starters. That means they will likely go faster, as they will have less crosswind on the long straight and less wind on their nose in general on the trickier part. It is a very small advantage, if any.
Ganna – We have not seen a lot from him since the Tour de France. He won a prologue in Tour of Deutchland, but you can hardly compare the TT there and the one tomorrow. I do think he will be going very, very well tomorrow. I think he would have liked the route to be a bit longer but that is that. He can deal with the tricky corners, he can manage the main climb and he can power on the flat. It will be difficult to stop him.
Evenepoel – just off his first GT win. A big one. We will have to see how the body responds. This is just a week ago so it could also mean he is still going very strong. It is the perfect length for him, but I am a tad worried it is a bit too technical for him. I haven’t seen enough to know, how well he does the corners. It also means he has not has a much time on the TT bike as some of the others. He and Ganna are the two to beat.
Pogacar – a wonderful dark horse tomorrow. I think he has timed his form to perfection for Worlds and is one of my big favorites for next week too. I think the hills are good news for him, and he certainly has the power for the flat too. I just do not see him beating Ganna or Evenepoel, but he would be my best guess – if someone did.
Küng – I do think he will challenge for the podium but that is about that. I think it has been shown a few times that he is just a level under Ganna, Evenepoel and Wout van Aert. He will fight for a medal, but I do not think the course suits him very well.
Bissegger – I think the main issue is the distance. Then again, he did win the Euro TT this year, beating off both Ganna and Küng. That was flatter and shorter. I do think he will fight for a top-5.
Hayter – We will see how the body respond after leaving the Vuelta with Covid-19. I dare to say it is not the best preparation, but if he had a mild infection, he could be going well. I think the mix of hills, lumpy technical terrain and flat is a good mix for the Brit.
⭐⭐⭐ Evenepoel, Pogacar
⭐⭐ Küng, Bissegger, Hayter
⭐ Lampaert, Sobrero, Sheffield, Plapp
Who will win?
I will take a third consecutive win for Ganna.