Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) and David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) are amongst thirteen British cyclists taking part in a two-day training camp in Mendrisio, Switzerland, this week as the nation prepares for next month's World championships.
Speaking to Cyclingnews from Mendrisio, the head of the British World championships campaign, Rod Ellingworth, said the camp has been designed to build rapport amongst the riders that will form the final squad.
"The whole idea is we want to win the world road race championships," he said. "Maybe not this year but we want to win it in the future and how do you do that? It's about getting the group together and motivating people. This camp is just part of that process."
Cavendish and Millar have joined Cervélo's Jeremy Hunt, Roger Hammond, Dan Fleeman and Daniel Lloyd, Barloworld riders Geraint Thomas, Steve Cummings and Chris Froome, Ben Swift (Katusha), Jonathan Bellis (Saxo Bank), Ian Stannard (ISD) and Russell Downing (CandiTV) for the camp. On Wednesday they will complete the second of two days' training on the Worlds course. The group have also held discussions about strategy for the September 27 race.
"This is the first time the team has come together on this course. Obviously quite a lot of them have ridden it anyway, like at the Tour of Italy last year. There's been a couple of other pro races around this area in the last couple of years, so a lot of them are quite familiar with the area."
British Cycling will be able to select nine riders for the World championship road race after the International Cycling Union (UCI) published its latest World rankings on Monday. Great Britain placed eighth, safely within the top-ten cut off for nine-men Worlds representation. Ellingworth said although the team would seek to capitalise on its numeric advantage, the key to success for any nation was establishing the right combination of riders.
"That was one of the main challenges that we looked at: 'How do we get nine riders to the startline?' We've got nine this year and we've got to make the best of that opportunity.
"I think that if the French or the Dutch get it right with their six they can still win the worlds. Obviously the Spanish will be very strong with a full hit of nine riders, where we fit into that I'm not sure.
"Everybody [within the team] agrees that maybe the chances of us winning the worlds this year is slim. In the future I think we've really got a really strong challenge. So yes, we're looking at the road course [on this camp], but it's more about the team coming together."
Ellingworth will select an 11-man long-list for Britain's World championship team next week. He said the 11 were likely to include the team's two representatives for the time trial. While Bradley Wiggins was unable to attend the two-day camp, Ellingworth said he expected the Garmin rider to be part of the team for the World championships.
"No, we don't know who'll be taking part in the time trial yet. There's a good chance they'll be part of the 11. We do have massive depth in road racing in Britain. I would say [Bradley] Wiggins will put his name forward and will be on the startline, I would hope; for the time trial in particular."
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