Tom Dumoulin has a chance to add a third world title to his palmares on Sunday in the elite men's road race but after winning the team time trial World Championships with Team Sunweb and then the individual time trial title on Wednesday, he knows that that final rainbow jersey will be a lot harder than the first two.
Dumoulin is more than the world's best time triallist and his end of season form means he is a dangerous outsider for Sunday's 267km race. He has won more time trials than road races during his professional career but was 11th in the 2015 world championships in Richmond, finishing in the group of chasers three seconds down on Peter Sagan.
The Dutchman knows he cannot compete against the likes of Sagan, Greg Van Avermaet or even Team Sunweb teammate Michael Matthews in a sprint finish. However, his time trialling speed and natural aggression could help him make a late solo attack on the 11 kilometres of twisting roads after the final time over Salmon Hill.
"I've always said I'm at this year's World Championships for all three titles. The first two races have given me two world titles. I'm still very focused on a third and I really like the idea of becoming a triple world champion," Dumoulin during the Dutch team's final press conference.
Dumoulin knows that the Netherlands does not have a team leader that can realistically take on Sagan and the rest. Instead, they will be aggressive and inventive.
"We do have a strong team, but not really a fast finisher. This circuit is for a rider with a strong sprint in their legs after 270km of hard racing. The route is something between the Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The World Championships in Ponferrada in 2014 had a steeper climb but it is a similar circuit," Dumoulin explained.
"Sagan, van Avermaet, and Matthews are the big favourites, we don't have a rider of that calibre. That makes it difficult for us but we can take advantage of a hard, open course. That will require a lot of intuition from the riders, we'll have to jump in attacks in the final laps and hope that an ideal situation will arise. We aren't really able to force a situation ourselves."
Dumoulin remembers being in the thick of the action in Richmond, attacking with one kilometre to go, after Sagan had made his move. He hopes for a similar scenario.
"If the races had lasted a little longer I could have perhaps ridden away from the group because I was very strong and the others had cracked. That would be an ideal scenario for me in Bergen," he said.
"I know that now lots of people will follow me when I attack, so it's getting harder but I'm stronger than two years ago."
Dutch team is like Quick-Step Floors, no gifts for Matthews
The Netherlands team also includes Bauke Mollema, Lars Boom, Koen de Kort, Sebastian Langeveld, Wout Poels, Niki Terpstra, Jos van Emden and sprinter Danny van Poppel.
"We are certainly not big contenders, but we have a good team. If you look at the structure or strength of our team, we might be a little bit like Quick-Step Floors," Dumoulin said.
"Lars Boom, Niki Terpstra and I will be up there in the finale. We need to create a very open race; we'll decide our exact plan in our final meeting. Like me, Bauke Mollema and Wout Poels have the same problem; if they are in a small group they're definitely not sure of a victory because they do not have a final sprint. Lars is a better bet in that situation but we can all be up there."
Dumoulin picked his Team Sunweb teammate Michael Matthews as a serious threat. However, the Australian cannot expect any trade team loyalty.
"I'm not going to hold back or do anything to help him. I won't ever flick my national team otherwise I won't be selected again. I also know that if I go away with Matthews then I'd lose in the sprint and only get a silver medal. Silver would mean we've performed well as a team but I've not come here for a silver medal."
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.