Imola (dpa) – 258.2 challenging kilometers, 18 tough climbs, only one World Champion: the King’s race is scheduled for the UCI Road World Championships in Imola, Italy, next Sunday (10.00am / Eurosport 2 / ZDF).

Who will succeed Dane Mads Pedersen, who won the cycling crown in Harrogate, UK last year? The team of the Federation of German Cyclists (BDR) is not one of the closest favorites, but despite some notable failures it delivers a lot.


The almost 29-kilometer circuit around the Imola circuit has to be tackled nine times. Every time there are not only two tough climbs, but also demanding descents, a narrow road and a technically demanding course. “The route is more difficult than I personally expected. It is a super tough route,” said veteran John Degenkolb, who, given the height of 5000 meters, can only be considered as a helper. Imola jumped in as host in the short term because the World Cup in the Swiss municipalities of Aigle and Martigny was canceled due to the corona.


As if the course wasn’t difficult enough, the field is also facing a rain fight. Compared to the first days of the World Cup, when the sun was shining above 20 degrees, a significant cooling down and showers from the early afternoon are reported for Sunday. Last year, in the constant rain in Harrogate, only 46 of the 197 professional cyclists crossed the last line.


Tour winner Tadej Pogacar and his fellow countryman Primoz Roglic are certainly one of them. “That shows how they got out of the tour. Ultimately, how fresh they are in their heads also plays a role. For four weeks they were under tension. Physically they both have the chance to drive extremely well.” said the German Captain Maximilian Schachmann. In addition to Pogacar and Roglic, the Belgian all-rounder Wout van Aert and the French Julian Alaphilippe are especially popular.


The German team must hope for a surprising coup in the absence of Emanuel Buchmann, Nils Politt and Lennard Kämna. Paris-Nice winner Schachmann is the great hope for this. Sporting director Jens Zemke said: “We are not a country that will start four Max Schachmanns. We need to start with a good strategy to protect Max for as long as possible.” Opportunities for outsiders are also attributed to Simon Geschke. Both were recently in action in the Tour de France.

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