UCI Cycling: The contenders for the rainbow jersey

By Jack Sargeant
fabian cancellara
Fabian Cancellara (Photo: Thomas Fanghaenel)

fabian cancellara

Many of the competitors have already landed in Geelong ahead of the UCI World Championships Elite Men’s Road Race on 3 October, but which rider will be wearing the coveted rainbow jersey next year?

Will the road race circuit be conducive to a bunch sprint, or will the large climb on the course be better for a puncheur? One rider who falls into the latter category is favourite Philippe Gilbert, who admits to being a fan of the Australian course.

“Because of the technical and twisty start, we hit the foot of the second climb at a quite a low speed,” he said. “That makes it especially tough, but good for me.”

It is clear that Gilbert is in good form, winning a brace of stages at the recent Vuelta a España and holding the leader’s jersey.

Gilbert comes in good company too, with 13 fellow Belgians joining him on the trip across to Geelong. The same cannot be said for British sprinter Mark Cavendish, who only has two team-mates to help him to the end of the race in the lead group. Cavendish has given himself an “outside chance” of winning the title.

The 262km course includes a couple of gruelling climbs which will have to be negotiated on each of the 11 loops around Geelong. They have been compared to those on the famous Spring classic Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Team Italy manager Paulo Bettini, a winner of the rainbow jersey himself, says he would be extremely surprised to see it end in a bunch sprint.

Other riders up there in the running for the title include Spaniard Óscar Freire, who first won this title back in 1999 and has won it twice since. Freire, 34, says he has faith in his chances of becoming the first ever rider to win the championships four times.

Fabian Cancellara is one of the few riders in the running for both the Road Race title and the Time Trial crown, and is well known for enjoying this type of hilly stage.

And Russian national champion Alexandr Kolobnev, who finished second last year in Swizerland, cannot be counted out along with Cadel Evans, who is looking to defend his title on home soil.


MORE: The latest football news

MORE: The latest tennis news

BIOGRAPHY: Cesc Fabregas

Davis Cup final 2017
The Sport Review
Davis Cup 2017: Can Goffin and Darcis lead giant-killer Belgium past France to victory at last?
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 footballers’ cars: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid players feature
The Sport Review
Top 20 Nigerian footballers in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2017: Do you know how much Xhaka, Ozil and Coquelin earn each week?
The Sport Review
Michael Owen sends warning to Chelsea ahead of Liverpool FC clash
The Sport Review
Sir Alex Ferguson privately raves about 20-year-old Man United star – report
The Sport Review
Antoine Griezmann talks up potential Man United transfer next year