Spanish national trainer Javier Minguez has described the World Championships course in Richmond, Virginia, as one which is far more complicated and technical than he originally anticipated when he was driving around it.
Minguez went to see the 16.2 kilometre road race circuit and various time trial courses in May with the Spanish amateur coach, and as he told Cyclingnews last month, "The first eleven kilometres are almost completely flat, and to be honest we were looking at each other and saying 'why have we bothered coming here to see this?'"
In fact, the last five kilometres, Minguez says, are another story altogether. "They're really quite complicated to handle, there are little climbs, corners, cobbles. It's very tricky."
"With 200 riders, it's going to be hard for them all to go through that part of the course in one group. There could be crashes, punctures…."
The last kilometre, he says, has "about 600 metres of climbing, and it's not that straightforward, then there's a slight corner to the left and it flattens out for the finish. It's good."
Asked whether it was a good course for Alejandro Valverde, Spain's multiple World medallist, Minguez said, “lots of courses and races are good for him. Depending on what happens in the race" - and with his final participation yet to be confirmed - "which I think will be eventful, he could be up there."
According to Minguez, the course is one where you have to be in the right place at the right time, all the time: this would arguably make for a fast, fraught Worlds. "It's a circuit which isn't selective" - in that it is not excessively hilly - "and it's not exposed, but it's complicated, and I think it's going to make for a wide open race, with a lot of possible contenders."
The time trial, he says, is a very different story. It's "very straightforward, flat and good roads."
Minguez is due to announce the Spanish 'pre-selection' for the World Championships during Tuesday's rest day at the Vuelta a Espana.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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