While its Start List isn’t as star-studded as Sunday’s Road Race, tomorrow’s World Championship ITT possesses no shortage of riders capable of winning the Rainbow Skinsuit. Luckily, the list itself is short, making it easy to sort the contenders from the pretenders. Let’s take a look at the 10 whom we feel have the best chances for a strong performance. We’ll rank them in their predicted order of finish, beginning with #10.
10th Place – Dominique Cornu – Belgium
Cornu won the 2006 World U23 ITT title and is always an outside threat to pull a good result in an ITT. He didn’t ride the Vuelta, but he still remains a dark horse capable of a top-ten finish.
9th Place – Ignatas Konovalovas – Lithuania
Konovalovas stunned everyone when he won the final stage of this year’s Giro. His results in the Vuelta were somewhat lackluster, but he’s certainly capable of finishing just inside the Top-10 in Mendrisio.
8th Place – Marco Pinotti – Italy
Being the 4-time reigning Italian National Time Trial Champion has to mean something, right? Pinotti will have enough of fan base in Mendrisio to warrant a good ride. Columbia-HTC could end the day with 5 riders in the Top-10—he’ll be the first (from the bottom up, that is).
7th Place – Tony Martin – Germany
Tony’s had a relatively quiet late summer and early fall following his revelatory ride in the first weeks of the Tour. He’s always been known as a time trialist though; look for him to get himself back on everyone’s radar with a strong performance tomorrow.
6th Place – Frantisek Rabon – Czech Republic
Rabon’s another of Columbia’s slew of time trialists. He rode the Vuelta, but put in what have to be considered ho-hum ITT performances at best. Still, he’s a talented man against the clock, and is certainly capable of a finish in the middle of the Top-10.
5th Place – Bradley Wiggins – Great Britain
I’m sorry, but I think the wheels are about to fall-off for the men in red, white, and blue (they did have it first, my American friends). Cavendish has already pulled-out of the road race (why was he even thinking of riding such a hilly event?), and now I think Wiggo will fall short of where most English-speakers are hoping he’ll be. Cite whatever reasons you like, but I think it will come down to whatever pressure he’s feeling as a result of the contractual tug of war being waged between Sky and Garmin. Sure, it’s usually the agents who sort these things out, but don’t you think BW’s phone has been ringing off-the-hook with people wanting to know the latest? It wears on a rider, really it does. Maybe next year, Brad. For now, you’ll have to be content with 5th.
4th Place – Lars Boom – The Netherlands
In my opinion, there’s only one rider capable of upsetting Fabian Cancellara and it’s Lars Boom. Realistically, the talented crosser (can we even say this anymore?) is probably more suited for the Top-5, but I think he’s by far the man with the deepest talent. If he wins gold, you can say you heard it here first. If he finishes 4th, well…I guess you can say you heard it here too!
Bronze Medal – Bert Grabsch – Germany
Germany gets both of its entrants in the Top-10 with last year’s champion only mustering 3rd. He’d be a favorite for a repeat if not for the two riders ahead of him.
Silver Medal – Edvald Boassen Hagen – Norway
I think Boassen Hagen’s a smart guy. I think he knows that his team is perhaps a bit over-matched for Sunday and that he might need to take his stab at a World Championship a few days earlier. I think he knows that everyone’s all but giving Cancellara the gold medal outright—a lot of pressure for any man. Sounds to me like a recipe for an upset. But if Boassen Hagen wins—given the August and September he’s had—can it really be called an upset?
Gold Medal – Fabian Cancellara – Switzerland
Um, let’s see:
1st, Prologue, Tour of California
1st, Prologue, Tour de Suisse
1st, Stage 9 (ITT), Tour de Suisse
1st, Stage 1 (ITT), Tour de France
1st Stage 1 (ITT), Vuelta a España
1st Stage 7 (ITT), Vuelta a España
Is there really any doubt? Cancellara will win his 5th Worlds gold medal. The competition is fierce—especially at the back-end of the start list—but Spartacus should claim the title that—as his results can attest—should be rightfully his.
So there you have it—tomorrow’s Top-10 a day early. Who did we leave out? Who’s your pick for the Rainbow Skinsuit?
Share your comments below.