The journalists' bets for the men's race

Cyclingnews' Hernan Alvarez conducted a poll in the press room, asking the numerous journalists who are covering the World Championships about their predictions for tomorrow's podium. Here's the verdict:

Jean-Christian Biville (L'Equipe, France): 1st Alessandro Petacchi (Italy), 2nd Erik Zabel (Germany), 3rd Robbie McEwen (Australia). "It's a course for sprinters and it'd be a logical result."

Jean François Quenet (Velomania, France): 1st Allan Davis (Australia), 2nd Luca Paolini (Italy), 3rd Jean-Patrick Nazon (France). "Logically, a finale like this cannot always happen."

Martin Roseneder (press officer Salzburg 2006, Austria): 1st Alessandro Petacchi (Italy), 2nd Robbie McEwen (Australia), 3rd Erik Zabel (Germany). "I think it's not such an easy course as we thought; it's harder."

Chris Lines (Australian Associated Press, Australia): 1st Robbie McEwen (Australia), 2nd Tom Boonen (Belgium), 3rd Alessandro Petacchi (Italy).

Fernando Emilio (Radio Clube Portugues, Portugal): 1st Alessandro Petacchi (Italy), 2nd Luca Paolini (Italy), 3rd Erik Zabel (Germany). "It depends on how Alejandro Valverde feels, but the favourites are the sprinters. The final meters are for bunch sprint specialists, but Valverde can surprise."

Alasdair Fotheringham (Cycling Weekly, United Kingdom): 1st Erik Zabel (Germany), 2nd Alessandro Petacchi (Italy), 3rd Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spain).

Stephen Farrand (Cycle Sport, United Kingdom): 1st Paolo Bettini (Italy), 2nd Alejandro Valverde (Spain), 3rd Roger Hammond (Great Britain). "I'll be a very aggressive and open race, so it's difficult that it'll end in a bunch sprint."

Sergi Lopez-Egea (El Periodico de Catalunya, Spain): 1st Alejandro Valverde (Spain), 2nd Paolo Bettini (Italy), 3rd Tom Boonen (Belgium). "I drove the course and there is an uphill with 5 kilometres to go that is very tough and that can prevent the sprint."

Pascale Schyns (ABC Color, Paraguay): 1st Robbie McEwen (Australia), 2nd Tom Boonen (Belgium), 3rd Alejandro Valverde (Spain). "Everyone says Petacchi is the favourite and we will see if he can handle that pressure. It will be difficult for him because of the Italian team."

Jose Carlos Carabias (ABC, Spain): 1st Paolo Bettini (Italy), 2nd Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain), 3rd Philippe Gilbert (Belgium). "In the end, it won't be too flat a course, it has more small climbs than I thought. The reference, as in every great race, will be Bettini."

Benito Uraburru (El Diario Vasco, Spain): 1st Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spain), 2nd Alessandro Petacchi (Italy), 3rd Alejandro Valverde (Spain). "The circuit is very difficult and I don't know if it will be a bunch sprint finale as it seemed."

Juan Gutierrez (As, Spain): 1st Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spain), 2nd Paolo Bettini (Italy), 3rd Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan). "I want and wish that the race doesn't end in a bunch sprint."

Jesus Gomez Peña (El Correo, Spain): 1st Paolo Bettini (Italy), 2nd Robbie McEwen (Australia), 3rd Igor Astarloa (Spain). "Everyone expected the last turn. In the end, Bettini will break the race and win."

Harm Vonk (NPA, the Netherlands): 1st Alejandro Valverde (Spain), 2nd Alessandro Petacchi (Italy), 3rd Robbie McEwen (Australia). "I think the end will be with a bunch group of 40 riders after a hard race."

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