A list of names for the 2015 World Championships road race

It occurs to me that most of you will be reading this preview on Monday once the race is over, so it’s probably inadvisable to spend too long on this. Therefore, without further ado, here’s the bare bones of the course and a handful of riders who might do something in the World Championships road race on Sunday.

It’s a long race – 261.4km – and while there aren’t any major climbs, there’s a trio of nasty kicks in quick succession on the finishing circuit that they’ll cover 15 times. I imagine we’re looking at the riders who go well in the classics.

Alexander Kristoff might be my tip. He likes a long race, he can get over lumps and bumps and he’s a genuine sprinter.

John Degenkolb can’t be far behind. Another strong classics rider, he’s also perceived as a sprinter by most people.

Michael Matthews has been putting himself through the wringer purely for this race. He rode the Tour de France when he couldn’t really walk to gain the stamina. He climbs, he sprints, he looked to be going well in the team time trial earlier in the week.

Peter Sagan will presumably come second, although Greg Van Avermaet will be one man who might stop him. Van Avermaet’s team-mate Philippe Gilbert will like this course too, as will Tom Boonen, who was also said to be looking good in the team time trial.

Alejandro Valverde has no real business being anywhere near the front on a race like this, but being as he almost always comes third at the World Championships, presumably he’ll find a way.

The women’s road race

The only real question, to my mind, is whether Lizzie Armitstead can win. She’s just won the spectacularly badly-named UCI Women Road World Cup for the second year in a row – a season-long competition comprising all the top women’s races (or ‘women races’ if you’re the UCI). Becoming world champion would be a nice bonus.