Van Dijk favourite for elite women's time trial Worlds

The favourites for the elite women's individual time trial championship can be pulled directly from the top four teams of Sunday's team time trial, even though the 22.05km distance is less than half what the women raced with their trade teams.

The pan-flat circuit in Florence takes in a loop along the Arno river before heading back toward the technical section that sits in the shadow of the famous Duomo di Santa Maria del Fiore, and the less-tricky run in to the finish in Campo di Marti.

While there are notable riders early in the start list, including Spanish champion Ana Sanchis, Audrey Cordon (France), Sweden's Emilia Fahlin, and Canadian champion Joelle Numainville, expect the hot seat residents to change quickly in the last 10 riders.

Trixi Worrack (Germany), Carmen Small, Evelyn Stevens (USA) and Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) are some of those late starters, and were part of the dominant Specialized-lululemon TTT squad.

While none of the Rabo-LivGiant riders are taking part in the individual time trial, Orica-AIS riders Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands), Shara Gillow (Australia) and Emma Johansson (Sweden) could challenge for the podium, but the powerful Dutch woman van Dijk is the top favourite after going nearly undefeated in time trials this year.

Last year's hilly course in her home country didn't necessarily favor her, but van Dijk is well suited to the course in Florence.

"I can't deny I won quite a few time trials this year. I'm really focused on it and I hope to do well," van Dijk told Cyclingnews.

"The last two years Judith Arndt was the world champion, so this year there will be a new one, so we'll see who it will be," she said. When asked about her top competition, van Dijk said, "I think Linda Villumsen, Shara Gillow, Emma Johansson, Evelyn - some of my teammates maybe challenging."

One rider to not discount is double-Olympic bronze medalist Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia), who sets off sixth to last, chased by Johansson, Gillow, Stevens, Villumsen and finally van Dijk.

Notable riders who will not be participating are Emma Pooley, who pulled out of the Great Britain team to focus on her studies, and defending road race champion Marianne Vos, who told Cyclingnews, "This year I picked up mountain biking, and with all the different disciplines it didn't work out. I decided already in May not to do the individual time trial because I had no time to do the right preparation for that. I didn't do the nationals either, so actually I didn't even qualify."

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