Chris Froome: Dumoulin is the big favourite for Worlds time trial

'I've got a bit of an outside chance but I'm feeling good' says Tour-Vuelta champion

Chris Froome (Great Britain) has declared Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) as the outright favourite for the men's individual time trial at the World Championships in Bergen, Norway.

The 31-kilometre time trial will be the first time both riders have faced each other individually all season, and the first time they have raced an individual time trial against each other since the Rio Olympics in 2016.

"He didn't do the Vuelta a España or the Tour de France and I think he's been focusing on being ready for this. I'd imagine that he's going to be the big favourite," Froome told Cyclingnews on Sunday after the team time trial.

Sunday's World Championships opening event saw Dumoulin and his Sunweb team pull off a sensational and unexpected team time trial win against the likes of BMC Racing and Team Sky. Froome and his teammates were forced to settle for the bronze medal, but the demanding individual course is an entirely different battle.

The opening section is raced over rolling terrain - where both men can excel - while the last few kilometres are all uphill and could see a number of favourites switch from time trial machines to their road bikes. While it may be too close to call in terms of victory, few are in any doubt as to significance of the final climb.

Although Froome and Dumoulin are not the only medal contenders to arrive in Bergen they are certainly the two pre-race favourites. Dumoulin won the Giro d'Italia in May and has geared up towards these championships, while Froome scooped up the Tour and Vuelta this summer. This is the last big hit-out for both men before closing their seasons and, with both riders expected to clash at the Tour next year, the Bergen course offers a glimpse into what may play out in 2018.

"The legs felt pretty good after what's been a pretty busy summer with the Tour and the Vuelta. On Wednesday I've no expectations and I'll just get on the saddle and give it everything I've got," Froome added.

"You don't see many time trials like that and I'm looking forward to giving it a shot and seeing what's in the legs."

Froome's form this summer has been startling to say the least. He appeared off the pace in the opening months of 2017 but claimed a fourth Tour de France title in July before wining comprehensively in Spain, becoming the first rider since Marco Pantani to win two back-to-back Grand Tours in a single season. Fatigue, it seems, has not yet crept in.

"Physically I still feel really good. I did start the season later and that's helped me a lot. Mentally, that's another issue. I think I'm quite tired mentally and I'm looking forward to some time at home with the family," he said. 

"Wednesday is the last big push. There's no expectation on my shoulders. I just want to get to the start line and give it everything. I know that there are much better time trial specialists out there and guys who have focused specifically on being ready for this. I've got a bit of an outside chance but I'm feeling good and I'd like to give it a shot and see what's left in the legs."

Related Articles

Back to top