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World Championships: Who to watch in the Team Time Trials

We give a run down of the big hitters aiming for this weekend's World Championships Team Time Trial

Joe Robinson
12 Sep 2017

This weekend sees the start of the UCI World Championships in Bergen, Norway with the traditional curtain-raiser of the men's and women's Team Time Trials.

Unlike the rest of the championships, the Team Time Trial is contested by trade teams as opposed to national squads.

Additionally, although the winners will be named World Champions, there is no rainbow jersey to be awarded.

Both the men and women tackle the same course this year, a 42.5km rolling profile starting in Ravnager winding itself down in to the finishing town of Bergen.

Quick-Step Floors will be looking to defend their men's title whilst Boels-Dolmans will be aiming to dominate the women's event like last year.

Below, Cyclist takes a look at the course the riders will have to tackle and the favourites for the titles.

Fighting the fjords

In Bergen, the UCI could not have picked a more contrary world's destination to last year's race in Doha, Qatar. Last year's race was characterised by dry heat, flat roads and eventually vicious crosswinds.

The small port town of Bergen is nestled within the Norwegian fjords surrounded by green mountains, vibrant in colour thanks to the 200+ days of rain a year. 

The challenges this year's course present are far from those in Doha. Short punchy climbs, cobblestones and a technical finish are sure to decide the victors. 

The first 10km of the race promise to be fast thanks to flat, untechnical roads. Before crossing the Askoy bridge, the teams will skirt along the coast for 5km, a section that could be affected by crosswinds. 

Despite the rolling nature of the roads, the only true climb comes at 29.6km into the Team Time Trial. 

Named the Birkelundsbakken, gradients of 16% will be contested over the 1.4km climb that averages at a modest 7.2%.

With its steep pitch, this climb will cause problems for teams that have gone too deep too early. 

A descent greets the riders at the crest, taking them down into Bergen to the finish which could be a deciding factor in the race. 

The final 5km present a technical challenge with over ten corners to negotiate including a full 180 degree dead turn with just over 2km to go.

In this final 5km, the riders will also tackle a 400m stretch of cobblestones.

Keeping teams together and maintaining speed will be a hard task that will be made the ever more difficult and treacherous with wet roads. 

Favourites for the title 

BMC Racing

BMC Racing were denied a hat-trick of TTT world titles last year in Doha, and will no doubt be out to reassert their dominance on this discipline. 

The Vuelta a Espana quashed any doubts surrounding the team's TTT pedigree, crossing the line first securing the first red jersey of the race.

This Vuelta victory has led to BMC entering the race as favourites, after yet another dominating year also taking the TTT victories at Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta a Catalunya and the Tour de Suisse.

The American WorldTour team will pull upon their experienced time trial specialists within the team to tackle the 42.5km course. 

Rohan Dennis will be looking for a maiden individual time trial championship so will be riding close to top form in the team competition on Sunday.

Dennis is yet to lose a time trial this year, including the four team time trial successes. 

Italian due Manuel Quinziato and Daniel Oss will be looking to end their BMC careers in style with victory in the time trial with Oss moving to Bora-Hansgrohe and Quinziato retiring.

Although the team is yet to be confirmed, it is expected specialists Stefan Kung and Joey Rosskopf will also be on board to offer extra firepower. 

Quick-Step Floors 

Ever the thorn in BMC's side, Quick-Step Floors will be looking to defend their 2016 title and upset the American WorldTour team for a second year running. 

Taking a record third title last season - after victories in 2012 and 2013 - Patrick Lefevere's men gave the cycling world a reminder of their TTT exploits, beating BMC by over 12 seconds. 

After yet another incredibly successful year - including 16 Grand Tour stage wins and the Tour of Flanders - Quick-Step Floors will at least looking to finish on the podium, an achievement they have maintained since the events reintroduction in 2012. 

The Belgian team take a strong side to Norway, with Niki Terpstra, Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert and Julian Vermote all retaining their places from last year's winning team. 

Philippe Gilbert and Jack Bauer will complete the line-up, rounding out a team of strong riders who all carry noticeable time trialling assets. 

One loss, however, for the team is that of Tony Martin. The four-time individual time trial World Champion had been a driving force behind the team's TTT success since 2012 but moved to Katusha-Alpecin at the beginning of this season. 

Team Sky

Who really knows what Team Sky will be capable of in the Team Time Trial? 

It has been yet another dominant year for the British WorldTour team, with Chris Froome taking a historic Grand Tour double and Michal Kiwatkowski clinching Milan-San Remo in the Spring.

The team as a whole rarely missed a beat when under pressure, suffocating the life out of the Tour and Vuelta, methodically controlling races, delivering their chosen rider to relatively comfortable victories. 

With their abundance of riches, Team Sky boast a roster that could bring together a world-class team time trialling unit. 

If firing on top form, Geraint Thomas, Michal Kwiatkowski, Vasil Kiryienka and Gianni Moscon could provide a plausible threat to BMC and Quick-Step Floors. 

Lest we forget Froome himself who, off the back of his Tour-Vuelta double, will be heading to Norway to try and complete a triple crown of sorts with the individual time trial title.

If the Team Sky manage to convince Froome to race the TTT, then this could be enough firepower to catch the race favourites.



Can you really look past Boels-Dolmans for the women's title?

The strength of their squad is scary, and without doubt favourites for the title in Bergen. Last year saw the Dutch side take the victory by an emphatic margin of 48 seconds over Canyon-SRAM. 

The team is slightly changed from last year due to the retirement of Evelyn Stevens and transfer of Ellen Van Dijk to Team Sunweb, however the current crop of riders should have enough for victory. 

Anna van der Breggen is confirmed for the TTT, and will be looking to capitalise on her outstanding season by taking the team time trial course as well as the road title. 

Alongside her will be Chantal Blaak and Christine Majerus offering their winning experiences from last year with Lizzie Deignan potentially riding despite having her appendix removed only two weeks previous.