Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions) declined his automatic spot with the Canadian National Team to compete in the UCI Road World Championship held in Australia on October 3. However, his teammate Svein Tuft says he is on target to win a world title in the time trial after placing second in the event two years ago.
Both riders are currently competing in North America's first-ever ProTour races Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec City and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal held on September 10 and 12 respectively.
Canada is permitted to field three riders in the road race and two in the time trial and has the difficult task of choosing the team from a long list of seven. Of the seven riders, two spots were automatically spoken for by Hesjedal and Michael Barry (Team Sky). However, both riders have declined to participate.
"Hesjedal decided that it was a long season and he was focused on doing well in the UCI races in Europe and the two ProTour races here in Canada," National Coach, Vincent Jourdain told Cyclingnews. "He will be competing in one more race held in Queens Park in Toronto but he didn't want to travel all the way down to Australia. Michael can't go because he broke his ribs."
The long list also includes Canadian National Time Trial Champion Svein Tuft and Christian Meier (Garmin-Transitions) along with Canadian National Road Champion Will Routley (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda), Kevin Lacomb (SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy) and Dominique Rollin (Cervelo Test Team).
Tuft is confirmed to compete in time trial and is an unofficial starter for the road race. The British Columbia native placed second in the world time trial championships in 2008 in Varese, Italy. He says he is on track to improve on that performance and bring his country a world title this year. He recently placed second overall at the Tour of Denmark and won the prologue at the Eneco Tour.
"I feel like I'm on good form now and I've had a good build up to Worlds like I did in 2008," Tuft told Cyclingnews. "I haven't seen the course so you never know until you get there, but I am going to go down early to train on it. Hopefully my form stays good. I ramped up my form for the two ProTour races in Canada and I feel like I'm on good form for the world championships."
Tuft recently announced that he will be leaving Garmin-Transitions to join the new Fly V Australia team that is vying for a ProTour license in 2011.
"Garmin-Transitions was really good to me but this team is interesting for the future and it is nice to be able to grow with a new team," Tuft said. "I took that opportunity and went with it. I can do a good job in the lead-outs and in the eight to ten-day stage races. When there is a time trial I usually have a chance to fight for the overall. I think the new team is a good place for me."