27 September 2013

Let's go to Italy!

UCI Road World Championships

That's the long name, the short punchy name is Toscana 2013. We'd  better get on the plane now because the ship has already left port and docked for the time trial races. At this point I won't feel bad for reporting who won those races because that is old (although good) news:

Results - 2013 World Championships 
Tony Martin of Germany - 2011 & 2012 & 2013 World Champion Time Trial
Tony Martin races by Basillica Santa Maria (Photo from TimesUnion.com)
World Champion Time Trial Elite Men: Tony Martin (GER)
INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL ELITE MEN

World Champion Time Trial Elite Women: Ellen Van Dijk (NED)
INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL ELITE WOMEN

World Champion Time Trial U23 Mens: Damien Howson (AUS)
INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL UNDER 23

World Champion Time Trial Junior Mens: Igor Decraene (BEL)
INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL JUNIOR MEN 

World Champion Time Trial Junior Womens: Eraud Severine (FRA)
INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL JUNIOR WOMEN

World Champions Team Time Trial Mens: Omega Pharma-Quickstep (BEL)
TEAM TIME TRIAL ELITE MEN
 
World Champions Team Time Trial Women: Specialized - Lululemon (USA)
TEAM TIME TRIAL ELITE WOMEN

World Champion Road Junior Women: Amalie Diderikson (DEN)
ROAD RACE JUNIOR WOMEN

World Champion Road U23: Matej Mohoric (SLO)
ROAD RACE UNDER 23 

TOMORROW Saturday 28 September, we will get to watch:

ROAD RACE JUNIOR MEN
ROAD RACE ELITE WOMEN (results)

FINAL DAY Sunday 29 September, we will get to watch:

ROAD RACE ELITE MEN (results) (report)

Now where is all this happening? - in Tuscany, Italy!

Racing from Lucca to Florence in magnificent Tuscany, Italy.
The elite mens road race on Sunday will race just over 100km from the charming town of Luca to the major historical city of Florence (Firenze), where the riders will complete 10 circuit laps, totaling 272.2km by the time it is all over. Route maps.

There are two climbs on route before reaching the circuit course in Florence which has two climbs. The first climb is Montecarlo averaging 3.5% with a maximum grade of 9%. The second climb is San Baronto averaging 7.1% with a maximum grade of 11%. The repetitive circuits should make or break the race. And the rain, rain, rain.

Race from Luca to Florence and add 10 circuit laps
2013 World Road Championships route map
About the race

The Mens Elite Road Race will begin at 10:00:00 on Sunday, September 29th in Lucca, Italy. Lap #1 begins at kilometer 106,56 inside the city of Florence at approximately 12:30pm. 10 laps will be completed with an estimated finish time (after 272,26 km total) estimated to be between 16:45-17:28pm. Coverage online in the USA should begin at approximately 12:40h CEST (4:40:00 AM MDT).

Full rider startlists by country for the remaining races at the World Championships may be found here. Race timetable here.

#1 on the startlist is Philippe Gilbert - defending World Champion and a favorite of mine (although a long-shot for Sunday, but you never know). I am also a huge fan of Edvald Boasson Hagen, Greg Van Avermaet and Mark Cavendish, but this might be a Vincenzo Nibali or Richie Porte kind of course. And then there is Peter Sagan - the perfect climber / sprinter package, but his season started a long time ago and I am not sure he still has full gas in the tank. 

I pick an all-rounder/ climber who can spike his heart-rate and power repeatedly, recover rapidly in order to hang in the lead group out of trouble, reserve enough for when the pace really goes up on the last two circuit laps when the riders who are tired from recent races will be spit out the back, and then sprint past all the others for the finish line. Mostly he has to have an all out desire to win.
Philippe Gilbert  Photo © by Mike Rakestraw for Pedal Dancer®
Representing the United States at Worlds will be:
BUSCHE Matthew #70
HORNER Christopher #71
HOWES Alex #72
PHINNEY Taylor #73
STETINA Peter #74
TALANSKY Andrew #75
VAN GARDEREN Tejay #76

Great Britain has a very strong team:
CAVENDISH Mark #35
CUMMINGS Stephen #36
EDMONDSON Joshua #37
FROOME Christopher #38
ROWE Luke #39
STANNARD Ian #40
THOMAS Geraint #41
WIGGINS Bradley #42

And of course we must look at the Italians in Italy:
NIBALI Vincenzo #17
NOCENTINI Rinaldo #18
PAOLINI Luca #19
POZZATO Filippo #20
SANTAROMITA Ivan #21
SCARPONI Michele #22
ULISSI Diego #23
VANOTTI Alessandro #24
VISCONTI Giovanni #25

Who will win?

You have to understand the course very well to predict who will win Worlds. Plus factor in recent races and results for each of the riders. Lots of good previews and guesses are out there, but I am going to go solely with Cycling Tips because he has an outstanding record in predicting the winner, and laying out an excellent preview:

Read: 2013 UCI World Championship Road Race preview, by Cycling Tips

The most exciting thing for me about Worlds is that the riders get to ride for country and not team (except for the team time trial). Maybe it is time at this point, to look back at this post I wrote in 2012 about World Champion Jerseys which shows the jerseys, medals and emblems awarded to the winners of the various disciplines.
The small Team Time Trial emblem on team OPQS jersey will be worm throughout the year by all team members.
I noticed that 9 out of the last 12 men who stood on the podium at the World Road Race in the past four years will again be competing against each other this Sunday (Davis, Goss and Greipel are not on this year's startlist). 42 of the top 50 ranked cyclists in the world will compete, the competition will be tough and unpredictable.

Recent Results: 
• 2009 - Location: Switzerland - Mendrisio - 262km
1. EVANS Cadel (AUS)
2. KOLOBNEV Alexandr (RUS)
3. RODRIGUEZ Joaquin (ESP)
• 2010 - Location: Australia - Melbourne - 257km
1. HUSHOVD Thor (NOR)
2. BRESCHEL Matti (DEN)
3. DAVIS Allan (AUS)
• 2011 - Location: Denmark - Copenaghen - 266km
1. CAVENDISH Mark (GBR)
2. GOSS Matthew (AUS)
3. GREIPEL Andre (GER)
• 2012 - Location: Netherlands - Valkenburg - 267Km
1. GILBERT Philippe (BEL)
2. BOASSON HAGEN Edvald (NOR)
3. VALVERDE Alejandro (ESP)

Full historical results since 1927, for the World Championships, may be found here. 
 
Worlds in 2014

The UCI World Championships in 2014 will be held in Ponferrada, Spain (13-21 September. 2014).

Watch the Race

To watch the action of the final days of World Championships LIVE online or on TV, check out the list of options at this link at Steephill.TV, which also offers this link: Men's Road Race Flythrough (01:47 English)gcn

Circuits in the city of Florence
circuit profile and map (cut off at the edges)
Location of circuit route area after traveling through downtown Florence and the major tourist area.
Italy - a wonderful place to travel!

Now let's look at some photos from my trip to Florence last year (and other years), and oh how I wish I traveled to Italy this year to see Worlds! All photos by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®

Florence (Firenze)
The Italian light is breathtaking
A magnificent city
Florence is a city of art
The landmark Ponte Vecchio at night
Duomo at night
Duomo at day
Santa Croce at night under a full moon
i due Fratellini - a delicious sandwich and wine "dispensary" in Florence
A visit to the local enoteca for some wine
Grom gelato, so delicious
A 10 foot squared space packed full of goodness
Spectacular views across the city of Florence
Ponte Vecchio in the day
 A copy of David outside the Uffizi gallery in the Piazza della Signoria
A nice place to sit outside at a cafe and have an espresso on the Palazzo Vecchio

It just looks so Italian
Visiting my niece Kristina, who studied Architecture in Florence for a year.
I also went cycling in Tuscany a number of years ago with a tour group led by a friend, it was wonderful! In between visits to Florence and Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano, and so many other big and small towns, we pedaled our bikes for miles, drank wine, cooked and ate delicious food and generally enjoyed each others company and the magnificent Italian scenery.

Bike Tour Companies in Italy
Velo Classic Tours, Thomson Bike Tours, Marty Jemison Tours, Cinghiale Tours, Ciclismo Classico, Trek Travel, Saddle Skedaddle, Womens Quest, VBT, Duvine, Adventure Travel Group, and many small local operators who are sometimes wonderful.

Cycling in Tuscany
Here we are cycling to yet another hilltop village in Tuscany
We took cooking lessons as well on this cycling trip - it was a blast.
Took a ferry out to cycle on the Island of Albi
And drank a lot of wine and laughed a lot while enjoying the views and perfect weather
I love Tuscany, Italy!
Villages, cities or regions definitely worth visiting in Tuscany:
  • Florence (shopping and museums)
  • Sienna (with its Piazza del Campo)
  • Pisa (the Leaning Tower of Pisa)
  • Lucca (Mario Cipollini's home town)
  • Cortona (take a walk)
  • San Gimignano (interesting towers)
  • Chianti Classico Wine Region
  • Montepulciano
  • Pienza and Val d'Orcia
  • Montencatini Terme
  • Volterra (ride your bike up the steep hill to the piazza)
  • Val di Chiana
  • Montalcino (with its Enoteca la Fortezza)
Popular tourist sites in Florence
  • Galleria degli Uffizi
  • Museo Nazionale del Bargello 
  • Gallerie Dell'Accademia (Michelangelo's David)
  • Museo Galileo 
  • Il Duomo
  • The Baptistery
  • Campanile Bell Tower
  • Ponte Vecchio 
  • Giardino di Boboli and Pitti Palace
  • Santa Croce
  • Piazza della Signoria
  • Palazzo Vecchio 
Related reading by Pedal Dancer®:
Only 61 Riders Completed Worlds
Recommended Viewing: One Wet Worlds