Fredrik Kessiakoff (Sweden) has decided to forgo the team time trial at this year’s Worlds and instead focus on the men’s individual time trial and road race. The team event, which takes places this weekend, would have seen Kessiakoff ride alongside five of his trade teammates from Astana, however with the Vuelta just behind him the Swedish ride has decided to rest-up and commit fully to next week’s events.
“I feel that it’s better that I focus on the individual time trial. If I was to do the team event then I’d have to leave for the Worlds today or tomorrow and just coming out of the Vuelta I feel that any extra day of recovery is an investment in the time trial. Eather than compete in all three, I’ll try and do two and have those few extra days to recover,” Kessiakoff told Cyclingnews.
The 45.7 km individual time trial poses as Kessiakoff’s best chance of a medal after the 32-year-old won the individual tests at both the Tour de Suisse in June and the Vuelta a España earlier in the month. That final win in Pontevedra has marked Kessiakoff as a dark horse for the podium, his chances greatly improved by the fact that Bradley Wiggins and Fabian Cancellara will not complete in Valkenburg.
“I think I’ve shown that on the right type of course I can be very competitive. I know that the course should be quite twisty and contains lots of up and downs but whether the climbs are long enough for me to get the benefit, I don’t know. We’ll have to see when I get there and ride the course. On race day we’ll see if I can put in a good performance but my focus is just to get there and to finish and feel like I’ve got out the maximum. How far that will take, we’ll have to see but I’m not putting pressure on myself.”
“It’s a lot more open this year and there are a lot more riders that would not be in competition for a gold who now have a chance to win or of getting onto the podium. It’s really open but then again we have to see who is the best on the day. At the Vuelta it was the 10th or 11th stage and now everyone will be fresh. I might not be able to put in a similar performance. I don’t see myself as a real favourite.”
Another reason Kessiakoff has decided to withdraw from Astana’s short list for the team time trial is down to an injury he sustained on the final mountain stage of the Vuelta. A saddle sore forced him to alter his position slightly and the adjustment, although temporary, caused a tendon behind one of his knees to flare up.
“I feel mentally well. On the second last day when I was on the stage to Bola del Mundo I started to feel a pain in a tendon on the back of my knee that was caused by a shift in my position. On that day it slowed me down. I’m still struggling with it and I still feel it, but I’m hoping that it’s something that in the coming days it will go away so I can put in one good training ride before the TT.”