The Netherlands have the pleasure of hosting this year’s European Championships. That means the routes are going to be flat.
We have zero. Yes zero climbing meters. That is likely the first time in 800 previews I see that. Starting in Emmen, the riders head southwest, before a short section north. Then out west, before a very long straight back home moving east before eventually reaching Emmen again.
A little more detail.
It is a route for the big guns. We have seven turns in 29.5 km.
KNWI has been used primarily as a source here. However, their “English” version of the website isn’t very optimal. It should stay dry, with wind speeds approximately 20 km/h or 5-6 m/s from S/SW. Luckily, Open-Meteo reports the same. It can change throughout the afternoon.
This is a day for the biggest engines. The simplicity of the route means that we will see a high avg speed, plus the completely flat terrain suits the bigger riders too.
Wout van Aert – the man who can’t get no rest. Neither from his team or us couch fans. Quitting the Tour de France to become a father and two weeks after finishing 2nd at Worlds in Glasgow. He was 5th in the time trial but there was a clear trend between having competed in the road race and underperforming in the time trial – don’t worry, I will make the same argument for Küng. Wout van Aert will start as the man two beat, as Evenepoel and Ganna have decided not to compete.
Bjerg – the Dane has improved this year. In the classics in service of Pogacar and in the Tour de France for… Pogacar. He rarely gets a race where he himself can race for a result but this is where the time trials come on. He won the time trial in Daphiné which had a similar length yet more climbing. In 2018 and 2019, he won the U23 WC against the clock, they had a length close to 30 km as well. It is a good length for him.
Cavagna – it looked like he had plenty of fun with the Wolfpack in Slovakia. He took 1st place overall after getting a large margin on the first stage, doing a 45 km solo. I would argue, despite him doing very well on hillier time trials too, that it is the flatter ones that suit him the most. The length also suits him fairly well.
Tarling – I will be rooting for the young Brit. It is not very often you see a 19 year old kid get a 3rd at Elite Worlds against the clock. Evenepoel did it in 2019 too and see where he is today. Back to Tarling, who should excel on a flat route (being a tall specialist). I am fairly certain he will finish on the podium.
Cattaneo – rode well in Spain recently. We know the riders can carry the Grand Tour legs for a few weeks following the end of a race. With his recent 8th at Worlds TT and 6th at La Vuelta, Cattaneo is an excellent shout for a top-5 tomorrow.
Küng – Another rider whos physique fits the bill tomorrow. As promised, don’t take his 12th at Worlds to seriously, he did both Road and Mixed Relay. On a flat time trial such as this, he will be difficult to beat. Especially given his current form, he was very strong in Bretagne Classic.
⭐⭐⭐ Wout van Aert
⭐⭐ Küng, Tarling
⭐ Bjerg, Cattaneo, Cavagna
Who will win?
I will take a win for Wout van Aert.