Mitchelton-Scott looking for podium finish in Worlds TTT

'You just have to do your fastest A to B, and hopefully it's the fastest,' says Luke Durbridge

After claiming the silver medal at the UCI Road World championships team time trial in 2013 and 2014, and the bronze in 2012 and 2016, Mitchelton-Scott are hoping to take things to the next step Sunday when the final edition of the trade-team event takes place in Innsbruck.

The six-man roster of Jack Bauer, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Daryl Impey, Cameron Meyer and Matteo Trentin have been hand-picked to handle the long, flat power section that opens the course and the short, steep 5km climb that tops out about 15km from the finish of the 62.8km course.

"Most rosters have a few lighter guys," said Mitchelton-Scott director Matt White. "A team of brutes wouldn't win here. You have to balance the effort on the climb after 45km of racing, then getting over the top with numbers because it's still a long way to the finish.

The men's team time trial opens in the same valley as the women's course for a fast start, before hitting the challenging climb.

"The weather forecast is for a tail wind down the valley, so the first 40km will be lightning fast and then we hit what is quite a tough climb for a team's time trial - around a 12-minute effort - and then you go over the top, downhill and another 10km to the finish," White said.

"By normal standards it's a pretty long TTT, not that technical, but I would say it's the hardest one we've had at the world championships."

Luke Durbridge, one of White's powerful 'brutes' on the team's TTT roster, agreed with his boss about the course's deceptive difficulty.

"With dynamic courses up and down, you go off and on the pedals, but this one, because it's so straight and so flat, there's a constant tension on your legs for the whole effort, and that makes it really, really difficult," Durbridge said in a video interview with Cycling Pro Net.

Despite the straightforward opening 40km, the course's climb throws a wrinkle into the day that Durbridge said will have teams considering different strategies to manage the day.

"I think it's one of those tricky courses where you have to be cautious of the climb, but you can't really judge your whole effort just on those 12-13 minutes, because there's 40-50km elsewhere to get the damage in," Durbridge said.

"So I think teams will be managing their effort and maybe using a few big guys into the bottom of the climb and then sending four climbers up the climb. So the teams are going to have different strategies and the sports scientists will manage it, and then we'll see who gambles the biggest and wins."

Durbridge wouldn't pick a favourite for the day, saying only that there will be a lot of "great" teams on the start line; he just hopes Mitchelton-Scott will be among the best at the finish.

White put his team in with a good chance at another podium spot.

"I think a medal is a realistic goal," White said. "I think BMC Racing and Team Sunweb have super teams here, but I would definitely put ourselves in the mix for a medal."

 

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