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Worlds course designer names Hushovd, Breschel as potential road champions in 2012

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Matti Breschel (Rabobank) chats with race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto)

Matti Breschel (Rabobank) chats with race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is a happy man as he awaits his final leader's jersey.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) is a happy man as he awaits his final leader's jersey. (Image credit: Elmar Krings)

The 2011 world champion will emerge from a large breakaway says the course designer, and suggested home favourite Matti Breschel, current world champion Thor Hushovd or puncheur Philippe Gilbert could win.

Course designer and Denmark's Cycling Federation director, Jesper Worre, believes the 266 kilometre race, centred just north of Copenhagen, will be decided by a power sprint of about 30-50 riders because the finish line sits on top of a 500m incline. He pinpointed riders like Thor Hushovd, Denmark's home favourite Matti Breschel and even Philippe Gilbert as potential victors. He questioned whether Britain's Mark Cavendish had the power to contest the sprint.

Worre said: "The easiest thing to say is someone like Thor Hushovd because he has good endurance and is very fast in a finish like this. It's a little bit harder than the finish in Geelong last year - there's more uphill from the base of the climb. Then of course Matti Breschel is the same kind of rider.

"The Danish team is 100 per cent for Matti. He's been practicing on the course a lot. He's dreaming of being in the first group in the corner at the bottom and what he has to do in the sprint."

Last year, the final stage of the Tour of Denmark included five laps of the championship course and New Zealander Hayden Roulston won from a break. He maintained a slim advantage on the final circuit and pipped the peloton by two seconds.

Worre suggested breakaways could steal the race again: "It is a course that can give advantage to the breakaway. The hills aren't going to break their legs like they did in Geelong [last year] which meant the breakaways were brought back.

"Breaks could get away on the finishing straight and the next 5kms are very hilly with a lot of corners. There you could get out of sight of the peloton. The bunch will have to go very fast to catch the breakaways."

The race starts in downtown Copenhagen before joining the 14km circuit for 17 laps.

"Cavendish should be very, very fit to win the sprint on 500m like this," said Worre. "I don't know if he has the power to make the difference on top of this one - that's the question mark."

Late in 2010, Cavendish visited the course with HTC-Highroad director Brian Holm. Afterwards Cavendish said: "The uphill finish will result in a power sprint. It's technically very difficult. But I think it'll be a finale with a large group sprint."

The Manx rider said he wanted to be in top form to 'bring home the yellow jersey.'