Worlds shorts: Vanmarcke outlines challenge posed by TTT course

Vanmarcke says Worlds TTT course is 'pretty tough'

LottoNL-Jumbo's Sep Vanmarcke told Cyclingnews on Saturday that the 38.8km Worlds team time trial parcours in Richmond is a "nice" course that's "pretty tough".

"There are 10km in the city, but that's OK because they are fast corners," he said. "Then it's a nice road going away from the city and then coming back also it's fast. There are some harder sections with a little bit of uphill, but it's a nice course.

"Halfway you go through some woods and there it's a little bit twisty. But for the rest here in the city it's some corners, but they're all 90 degrees and it's all big roads, so I think no big difficulties."

Vanmarcke said the hardest climb on the course will come in the final kilometre when everyone is approaching their red lines.

"Then you have to go through limits, and that will be the hardest part," he said.

Vanmarcke, who said the team has done some specific training during the week as is ready for Sunday's test, will be joined in Richmond by Jos Van Emden, Wilco Kelderman, Robert Gesink Maarten Tjallingii and Tom Leezer.

Colombia back Urán for Worlds road race

Rigoberto Urán will spearhead Colombia’s ambitions for next Sunday’s elite men’s road race at the World Championships, with the sqaud’s coach hailing the experience of the 28-year-old.

Urán proved that he is in fine form with a win at the recent Grand Prix de Québec, but his teammates will have to force a selective race if he’s to have any chance of success in Richmond. Winner Anacona, Miguel Angel López, Járlinson Pantano, Carlos Quintero, Edwin Avila, Alex Cano, Carlos Alzate and Daniel Jaramillo are the men who will be looking to do just that as they flank Urán on Sunday.

“They have all raced in Europe, but the one who knows most, and knows how to position himself, is Urán,” said Colombia coach Carlos Mario Jaramillo.

“He’ll act as the foundations and we all believe in him. It’s a big advantage for us – he has shown he’s in good shape and well motivated. And he has a team that is going to back him up. He knows how to race and above all he enjoys it. The course suits him. I believe in him and he’s going to give everything to put in a good performance.

“The circuit is about skill, expertise, knowing how to race and position yourself. The cobbled sector is short but will be decisive because it’s followed by a fast stretch that may decide the world champion. So positioning is so important.”

Zirbel and Optum excited to be racing Worlds on 'home turf'

Optum Pro Cycling's Tom Zirbel told Cyclingnews on Saturday that his US Continental team is excited about competing in the first road World Championships on US soil since 1986.

All US domestic teams received an automatic invitation to the race, and Optum is in Richmond to make the most of the unique opportunity.

"The support here has been awesome," he said after completing a raining run on the course with his team. "Optum has pulled out all the stops for us, so we're feeling good. We've gotten a few good practice runs this week, and we're ready to just do our best. … We're just happy to be on home turf."

Zirbel said the Richmond TTT course has a little bit of everything to challenge the riders.

"We're excited about it," he said. "There aren't any big climbs. I think the shorter distance will favour us as compared to the Pro Tour teams because they're used to doing longer TTTs. So we're excited about it.

"There are a few turns. The problem is you're so used to going straight, and then throw in a couple of turns and you can lose some time if you're not paying attention, whereas on a really technical course you're kind of on your game the whole time."

The Optum team roster also includes Ryan Anderson, Jesse Anthony, Guillaume Boivin, Tom Soladay and Scott Zwizanski.

Zirbel, who characterized the course as "pretty straightforward", said his team was obviously hoping for a good result, although he acknowledged the competition was going to be stiff.

"Our podium would be top 10, top 12," he said. "That would be incredible for us."

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