Come Saturday afternoon on Doha's 'Pearl' island, the 2016 winner of the elite women's UCI Road World Championships will be standing atop the podium with a gold medal hang around their shoulder over the top of a rainbow jersey. While the where and who are known, it's the who which is currently unclear with several top fast finishers and classics specialists all in contention for the victory.
Dutchwoman Kirsten Wild is a proven racer in Qatar and as a result enters the race as one the outright favourites for victories. She spearheads a strong squad that also includes Olympic gold medallist Anna van der Breggan, time trial silver medallist Ellen van Dijk and three-time champion Marianne Vos. Between 2006 and 2013, Vos finished either first and second but broke that run with tenth in 2014 and then missed the 2015 Worlds but will be rider to watch come Saturday.
Another strong team heading into the race is Australia with Chloe Hosking a clear 'plan a' on a course that suits her to a tee. The Wiggle High5 rider has enjoyed one of her best seasons to date and will be aiming to finish the season on a high.
Two of Hosking's trade teammates, Jolien D'hoore with Belgium and Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), will be aiming to cause an upset with the later set to retire from the sport after the road race and will be aiming for a third rainbow jersey. Italy will also have Elena Cecchini as a leader for the race and the Canyon-SRAM rider will be aiming for a medal to match her silver in the team time trial.
For more on Cyclingnews' riders to watch in the women's elite road race, watch the video above and click here for your one-stop guide to the Doha Worlds.