Sprinters will contest worlds win after technical circuit, says Van Avermaet
Greg Van Avermaet has likened the finishing circuit for October’s World Championships road race in Qatar to a Belgian Kermesse, and has played down his chances of success.
The Classics specialist was among the riders to sample the 15.4-kilometre circuit on the Pearl during Tuesday’s second stage of the Tour of Qatar and spoke to Sporza afterwards of the technical nature of the circuit that is likely to suit the sprinters.
"There is a lot of twisting and turning. It is a flat, technical track. Nothing special. You can compare the course best with a kermesse in Belgium, I think," he said.
In an ideal world for Van Avermaet, the circuit would be straighter and more exposed to the wind and he thinks that, despite the 260km length of the course as a whole, that all the top sprinters will be in tow come the finale. Van Avermaet picked out 2005 world champion Tom Boonen as Belgium’s best chance of success.
"All the best riders line up at the start of the World Championships. It is likely to come down to a sprint so riders like [Mark] Cavendish, [Alexander] Kristoff or [Marcel] Kittel are the favourites," said Van Avermaet.
"Of course it is difficult, after 260 kilometers, but the really good sprinters can manage that easily. Do we [Belgium] have a sprinter? That's a tough question. I do not think so. Maybe this season someone will break through, but on such a course Boonen is probably the Belgian favourite."
Perkins faces battle for Rio selection
The Olympic hopes of two-time track world champion Shane Perkins were dealt a blow when he failed to make the 20-rider team for next month’s UCI Track World Championships in London. Perkins has not raced in any of the World Cup events either this season, after he was dropped from the national sprint programme last year.
His non-selection for the World Cup meant that only a place in the team sprint was possible in London. Australian selectors are set to make a decision on who they will take to Rio in June but there is little in the way of international racing for the 29-year-old to prove himself, although his recent national title in the Keirin should help.
National performance director Kevin Tabotta admits that it will be hard for Perkins but believes this setback will only push him on.
"Shane Perkins is a determined, elite performer and he has his eyes on Rio," Tabotta said according to the Australian Associated Press (AAP). "At the same time, we have a selection document in place and a selection process that he's been through, like all the other sprinters, in the last 18 months.
"At some point, there are riders who are included and riders who are excluded. It doesn't mean that it's impossible for him to ride in Rio - it's not - but it's certainly more and more difficult.
"He wants to win in Rio - Shane Perkins isn't about tracksuits - he's about winning," Tabotta added. "That's what has made him such a great competitor. With that comes edginess, comes ambition - 'I'm going to prove you guys wrong' - I love all that stuff. That's what Shane Perkins personifies."
Mørkøv and Rasmussen win in Copenhagen
Home riders Jesper Mørkøv and Alex Rasmussen have claimed victory in the Six Days of Copenhagen by a clear margin. The Danish pair finished the event on 349 points while their nearest competitors Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw ended with 272. The victory is Rasmussen’s fifth title in Copenhagen.
"I started riding a bike because of this. It has been my dream for 20 years to win, so I can hardly believe that we have succeeded, " Mørkøv said after the race.
Mørkøv and Rassmussen’s path to victory was smoothed out, however, with a total of eight riders being forced to pull out with illness. Otto Vergaerde and Marc Hester had appeared the favourites to take the win but Hester was struck down by a fever before the crucial race.
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