Sweden look to position Johansson in key moment of women's Worlds

What Sweden lack in numbers they make up for in strength with a team built solely around Emma Johansson at the World Championships. Johansson is a perennial top ten finisher in the Worlds and has been on the podium for the last two years running and although Sweden have just four riders in Saturday's race, they appear dedicated to Johansson's cause.

Emilia Fahlin and Sara Mustonen-Lichan make up the rest of the team and with Johansson in form Sweden stand an excellent chance of taking a medal.

"I'm feeling good, my legs are feeling good and I think that I had some good power out there as well. I've got the answers that I needed," Johansson told Cyclingnews after the women's time trial earlier this week.

"Overall the team is shaping up really nicely for Saturday," she said modestly.

"The last three hills are going to be everything and it's going to come down to who has the best legs and the best timing. Every country has one or more, like Holland and Italy who have a few cards. Then there's a lot of good riders. I think the Dutch, Italians and Australians will make the race."

If the men's U23 race was any indication riders must hit the foot of the first climb on the last lap – Libby Hill – near or just off the front. Anything else could be a major risk and one rider charged with shepherding Johansson to the foot of the climb is Fahlin.

Ironically Fahlin will leave Wiggle Honda at the end of the season, while Johansson takes a place on the squad but on Saturday it will be business as usual for the pair when they pull on their national kit.

"I think that it's hard and there are some different characteristics in comparison to the last couple of years," Fahlin told Cyclingnews after she rode the course on Thursday.

"This is hard but a different type of hard. We did a couple of laps together and all the girls agree that there's no reset between the climbs and it will be a hard race.

"We have four strong riders and I hope that we can be there for as long as possible to help Emma. Of course she's our best card and we have the possibility to race for the gold, which is motivating. Hopefully we can cover because it's important that we don't put ourselves on the back foot because we can't afford to chase. We have to be represented."

It's not official but she will most likely be moving from Wiggle to Alé-Cipollini-Galassia for next season.

"It's not official just yet but I have a new team and a new challenge for next year. It should be announced after Worlds," she said. "I wouldn't say that it's wrong or right," she replied when asked about Alé-Cipollini-Galassia

"I've had a great two years on Wiggle Honda so of course I'm sad to leave but I have to see where I'm at, at this point in my career. I want to try and get myself in a different position for next year in order to try and qualify for the Olympics. My goal is to try and get to more of the pointy end of the races."

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1