Dutch riders top favourites list for time trial in women's World Championship

Van der Breggen last off in race for rainbow bands

The elite women's time trial on Tuesday afternoon will be the penultimate race against the clock at this year's UCI Road World Championships. The time trial is a pure test of mind, body and machine that always pushes riders to the limit and throwing in the desert heat will only make things harder.

Many of the women have had a chance to race the course at full speed, and in the heat, during the team time trial on Sunday. Rather than just one lap of the snake-like roads of the Pearl, the riders will do two with riders going off in four groups of 10 to avoid any crossover between the starters and those heading into their second lap.

The first riders will leave the ramp in the heat of the early afternoon, while the last will be finishing as the sun sets. The Under 23 men raced over the same distance and showed that the changing temperatures can have an impact on the result, and you could pay the price heavily for going out too fast.

There are some names missing, including defending champion Linda Villumsen but there are still three former time trial world champions and an Olympic silver medallist.

Ellen van Dijk, who is the last rider of group three to start, is one of those former champions lining up in Doha. Van Dijk looked set for a medal in the Olympic time trial, only to run off the road and be edged out for third place. She has since won the European title and taking a second rainbow jersey would put the Olympic disappointment firmly to bed. Van Dijk has already got one gold medal in her back pocket from the team time trial and the last time she did that, in 2013, she would go on to take the individual title a few days later.

Joining her on the extremely strong squad will be Dutch national time trial champion Anna van der Breggen. The 26-year-old has had a superb season, winning the road race at the Olympic Games and going on to claim silver in the time trial. Annemeik van Vleuten, who has mounted a brilliant comeback from a horror crash at the Olympics, will round out the Dutch TT line-up.

The 2014 champion, Lisa Brennauer has come close on a few occasions although she is yet to win an individual time trial this season, but what a time to start. The Germans have already had some success with gold and silver in the under 23 men's event and Brennauer, who also won bronze in 2015, is certainly a contender to add another medal.

Trixi Worrack adds some serious firepower to Germany's chances. The veteran rider showed she is a tough nut to crack when she claimed the national title just weeks after returning from a crash that resulted in her losing a kidney.

For the USA, it is Amber Neben and Carmen Small that will shoulder their hopes of a podium finish. Both riders missed selection for the Olympic Games, despite taking the decision to arbitration. Now 41, Neben won the world title in 2008 on a lumpy course in Varese. The course is probably better suited to US national champion Small, who claimed a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2013.

Katrin Garfoot came so close to a medal in Richmond last year, only to miss out by just four seconds. Garfoot has been in good form of late, winning the Chrono Champenois - Trophée Européen ahead of some very strong competition. She will be Australia's sole hope in the women's competition.

She may be a contentious character, but you can't count out Olga Zabelinskaya either. The Russian received an 18-month ban after testing positive for the stimulant octopamine and had to rely on a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to allow her to race in Rio. Zabelinskaya, who still protests her innocence, went on to take the bronze medal.

There are a number of strong outside bets including Alena Amialiusik (Belarus), who suffered badly in the heat of the team time trial, Hayley Simmonds (Great Britain), Ann-Sophie Duyck (Belgium) and Audrey Cordon (France).

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