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The Italian city of Imola in the central Emilia-Romagna region will host the 2020 Road World Championships. The four-day World Championships will only include the Elite men’s and Elite women’s time trial and road race events between Thursday September 24 and Sunday September 27, with the Junior and Under-23 World Championships not awarded in 2020.
The World Championships were due to be held near the UCI headquarters in Aigle-Martigny in Switzerland, but the local organisers backed out in mid-August when Swiss COVID-19 restrictions made hosting the event unfeasible.
The elite women’s time trial opening proceedings on Thursday before the elite men tackle the same 31.7km course the next day. The time trials are on a flat and fast parcours, with just 200 metres of total altitude gain and the winning average speed should be in excess of 50kph.
The reigning champions will be back to defend – Chloé Dygert of the USA for the elite women and Rohan Dennis of Australia for the elite men.
The women’s road race will take place on Saturday, September 26 and packs 2,800m of climbing into 143km. The 28.8km circuit, which starts and finishes on the Enzo e Dino Ferrari automobile circuit, will be completed five times. It offers two major difficulties – the climbs of Mazzolano (2.8km at an average gradient of 5.9 per cent, with maximum gradients of 13 per cent) and the Cima Gallisterna (2.7km at 6.4 per cent, with stretches at 14 per cent). The steep, 1.3km mid-section of the Cima Gallisterna has an average gradient of 10.9 per cent, while the summit comes 12km from the finish line.
In the women’s road race, reigning champion Annemiek van Vleuten would be a favourite, but is questionable due to a broken wrist sustained at the Giro Rosa. The Dutch squad, however, still includes former world champions Marianne Vos, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak and Anna van der Breggen. Katarzyna Niewiadoma of Poland has impressed in taking second overall at the Giro Rosa and the home challenger will be Elisa Longo Borghini of Italy.
The elite men’s event will take place on Sunday, September 27 and features 5,000m of total climbing in the nine laps of the 28.8km circuit for a total of 258.2 kilometres. Just like the elite women, the start and finish will take place on the Enzo e Dino Ferrari automobile circuit. The two major climbs will be the same as well – the Mazzolano (2.8km at an average gradient of 5.9 per cent, with maximum gradients of 13 per cent) and the Cima Gallisterna (2.7km at 6.4 per cent, with stretches at 14 per cent).
Notably absent from the elite men's race will be reigning champion Mads Pedersen of Denmark, who cited the demanding nature of the parcours for opting out. The main contenders will most likely be riders who completed the 2020 Tour de France – Remi Cavagna (France), Kasper Asgreen (Denmark), Wout van Aert and Tom Dumoulin (Beligum).
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