Imola (dpa) – After all, not against high-flyer Tadej Pogacar! The cycling elite takes a deep breath for the fight against the clock, as the new Tour de France winner and time trial dominator will not start in Imola (Eurosport / ZDF Livestream) from 2:25 pm and will compete for World Cup gold.
Almost a week ago, the now 22-year-old won the demanding tour time trial to La Planche Des Belles Filles with a 1:21 minute lead, outclassing the accumulated competition.
“I don’t know how Pogacar can be more than a minute faster than me. My values were the same as for my world title. So I was very surprised that Pogacar took 1:21 minutes away from me,” said former world champion Tom. Dumoulin, one of the best contenders for the world title on Friday’s 31.7-kilometer course in Emilia Romagna. This time he does not have to fear Pogacar, the tour winner will only get on the bike again on Sunday for the 258.2 kilometer road race.
The German team must be content with the role of an outsider. After the cancellation of the four-time time trial champion Tony Martin, the Federation of German Cyclists in Jasha Sütterlin and Max Walscheid are two riders who do not belong to the extensive favorite circle. “If I were to finish in the top 20, I would be very happy with it”, said tour starter Walscheid, who will replace the sick Nikias Arndt in the short term. Sütterlin has set his goals a bit higher: “The way I’m in shape, I want to finish in the top 15.”
It will be difficult for a medal without specialist Martin, who will not start immediately after the Tour de France. The 35-year-old from Cottbus won the most important time trial of 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016.
With Wout van Aert (Belgium) and Dumoulin (Netherlands), two of Martin’s teammates could fight for gold this time at Jumbo-Visma. Since the restart of Corona at the beginning of August, the 26-year-old van Aert not only won two tour stages, but also the classics Milan-Sanremo and Strade-Bianche. Defending champion Rohan Dennis (Australia) and local hero Filippo Ganna are also close favorites.