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World Championships: Ganna expects race of fine margins in elite men's time trial

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadeirs)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Filippo Ganna lines up to defend his title in the elite men’s time trial at the World Championships on Sunday mindful that the smallest of margins could decide the destination of the rainbow jersey.

Ganna will be the last man down the start ramp on Sunday afternoon, when he will face stiff opposition from the Belgian duo of Remco Evenepoel and Wout van Aert, as well as the newly crowned European champion Stefan Küng (Switzerland).

“It only takes 0.1% to make the difference,” Ganna told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “[Remco] Evenepoel and [Wout] van Aert are riding at home and they will have an extra great. I’m very happy for Remco that he’s back at a very high level. [Stefan] Küng will give everyone a hard time because his success at the European Championships has given him something more. Wout was flying more than pedalling at the Tour of Britain. And there’s also [Stefan] Bissegger… There are a lot of rivals.

Ganna had to settle for second place behind Küng at the recent European Championships in Trento, losing by 8 seconds over the 22.4km course. The Worlds takes place over a longer and flatter course, with barely 80m of altitude gain on the 43.3km route from Knokke to Bruges.

“It’s fast, with a crosswind and also a tailwind in several parts,” Ganna said. “There aren’t many places to recover, with a lot of straights and few corners. But we’re calm and in good company. The tests in training pushing the big gears have gone well. The pressure? I don’t feel it.”

Ganna has won seven time trials in the rainbow jersey, including all five time trials at the Giro d’Italia in 2020 and 2021. Since claiming the crown in Imola a year ago, he also scored a remarkable solo victory at Camigliatello Silano on the 2020 Giro and landed gold at the Tokyo Olympic as the fulcrum of Italy’s team pursuit squad.

“I’ve tasted this jersey, I like it and I want to keep it. But if it doesn’t turn out like that, it means that something must have been stronger than me and I’ll have to congratulate him,” said Ganna, who will ride Wednesday’s mixed relay but will not participate in next weekend’s road race.

“We spoke about it with [Davide] Cassani. There are still a lot of appointments for me, among them the idea of taking back the individual pursuit world record at the Worlds at the end of October,” said Ganna. “It’s not easy, you need to recover well. After the race on Wednesday, I’ll rest until Sunday and then it’ll be only track until the end of the season, even if I will do some one-day races in Italy. I think the Coppa Bernocchi, Tre Valli Varesine and Gran Piemonte.”

 

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