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Ellingworth bullish on British chances for Worlds gold

Rod Ellingworth talks to the riders before the training ride

Rod Ellingworth talks to the riders before the training ride (Image credit: Richard Moore)

When it comes to talking about Sir Bradley Wiggins chances in the World Championships elite men's time trial on Wednesday, British Road Worlds Team Manager Rod Ellingworth is quietly optimistic.

Twice a silver medallist in the World Time Trials, in 2011 and 2013, Wiggins looks set to be Tony Martin's most serious obstacle as the German goes for a record breaking run of four gold medals on Wednesday's undulating course in north-west Spain.

"He's good, he's in good spirits, he rode the course last (Monday) night and really liked it," Ellingworth told Cyclingnews in the time trial start zone at Ponferrada on Tuesday morning.

"I know it was only training, but he glided up the climbs, he was in a good place."

In Sky's team time trial performance too - where Wiggins took part - "all the guys did what they could, but [Vasil] Kiryenka [a bronze medallist in the 2012 Worlds Time Trial] and Wiggins were head and shoulders above everybody else."

"You can never count Tony Martin out, but it's a big opportunity for Brad."

"Tomorrow [Wednesday] the pair of them, Alex [Dowsett] and Brad, we'll see what happens, but they'll be full on."

The elite men's time trial is notably shorter than in Tuscany in 2013 - 47.1 kilometres in Spain, compared to 57.9 kilometres in Italy - but Ellingworth argues that "any of these courses suits Brad, barring some short steep nasty climbs."

"It's shorter than last year, but it's an ideal distance. Those strong time triallists - [Adriano] Malori, Tony Martin, Kiryenka, Brad, Tom Dumoulin - they'll be in the mix."

Looking further ahead to GB's road-race options, Lizzie Armistead hopes to be a key factor in Saturday's event, and with standout favourite Marianne Vos getting dropped in the trade team time trial, the race could be more wide open than initially thought. Ellingworth is not so certain though, saying "I'm sure Vos is better than what she showed, and around this kind of course she'll be good. But I'm sure Lizzie will go well as well."

As for Sunday's road race, Ellingworth  said, "Ben Swift has come here in really good shape, he's getting himself ready. But all the lads are looking good. I spoke to Dave Millar, and although he had a crash in the Vuelta [fracturing two fingers] he's feeling better and he had a good session yesterday, so did Luke Rowe, Swifty...all the lads are up for it."

There is speculation amongst GB fans that Swift could well be leader - and memories of his third place in this 2014 Milan-San Remo are still very fresh.

But Ellingworth argues that "we're keeping our options open a bit, we've got a full team of nine riders and it's not like it's going to be a sprint finish with [Mark] Cavendish [in the 2011 Worlds]."

"There's Froomey, the Yates brothers, Pete Kennaugh and Swifty, that's five guys in great form, backed up by four support riders [Luke Rowe, Dave Millar, Steve Cummings, Geraint Thomas] who in their own right are great on their own. So hopefully we'll do really well."

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