Jolien D'hoore will lead the Belgian women's team in Saturday's road race with the aim of winning the country's first gold medal since Nicole Vandenbroeck in 1973 and first medal since Patsy Maegerman's silver in 1994. The Belgian national champion will be joined by Jessie Daams, Sofie De Vuyst, Jolien D'Hoore, Annelies Dom, Kaat Hannes and Anisha Vekemans for the 129.8km circuit race.
"We have a strong team for this kind of race with six girls and each of us can have really good races on this course, so I'm confident in our strength and I can just hope to continue on with the way that I've been racing all season," said the Worlds debutant. "I'm not fixing myself on a specific result, I just want to make a good race."
D'Hoore picked up the first two stages at the Boels Rental Ladies Tour earlier this month having won the Crescent Women World Cup Vargarda World Cup round a week prior. The 25-year-old's first season with Wiggle Honda has included 12 wins so far, D'hoore's most successful year yet, with two World Cup wins and third place overall in the final year of the competition.
The UCI has announced a 17 race women's World Cup from 2016, a decision D'hoore welcomes to continue the growth of the sport.
"It's a very good initiative for next year in women’s cycling. The World Cup is gone now and there will be more races, and more at the top level, also more prize money," she said. "The races that were selected are good and it’s good for everybody."
British Cycling celebrates Aviva Women's Tour and RideLondon as women's WorldTour events
British Cycling has welcomed the news that two British events will feature prominently in the newly announced UCI Women's World Tour. The Aviva Women's Tour and RideLondon have been selected by the UCI after just two and one previous editions respectively of the races.
"It's also a further boost to our We Ride strategy, our comprehensive approach to promote and build women's cycling in this country – with the ultimate goal of getting one million more women cycling by 2020."
Six riders to watch for the women's world championships road race
Today's women's world championships road race looks to be an open race in Richmond. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (France) is looking to defend her title from 12 months ago but faces stiff competition from the likes of Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain), Emma Johansson (Sweden) and Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands).
Besides Ferrand-Prevot, Giorgia Bronzini and Tatiana Guderzo (both Italy) are the only other former winners on the start list.
To see who else we’ve picked for our six riders to watch in the below video and click here to subscribe to the Cyclingnews video channel.
The 129.8km race starts at 13:00 local time.
Laura Trott and Katy Marchant win gold on day of British Track titles
Day one of the British Track national championships in Manchester saw Laura Trott and Katy Marchant claim the first medals on offer for the women.
Trott got the better of defending champion in the individual pursuit title, Katie Archibald, 3:32.759 to 3:33.065 for her seventh elite British title.
"I'm really happy. For me, the IP is sort of a mixed event, I didn't really know how well I was going to go. I was really happy with my time and to take the national title," Trott said of her win. "I just went flat out so I was really happy that I managed to pull it back and in typical Laura form, leaving it until the last two laps."
Former heptathlete Katy Marchant won her first British Track title in the sprint, defeating former sprint world champion Becky James 2-0 in the final having dispatched 2014 champion Jess Varnish along the way.
"It's pretty cool! It’s my first one so I'm pretty happy to come away with a gold medal in the sprint," said Marchant who is looking ahead to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. "It's another step forward towards the world championships in London and then Rio, it's exciting."
The finals of the women's team pursuit, keiran and scratch will all be held on Day 2 of the nationals.