Sunday 16th September, 11:00 CEST
Tomorrow the World Championships start, and yes, since you ask, I *AM* very excited!
So, a quick post, with some information on how to follow it - come below the jump for course and team details, predictions, and above all - tv links! Yes, we can watch this one, from 10:30 CEST on Dutch channel L1 - they stream live and un-georestricted here. Thanks L1! You're a superb channel! If you see more coverage, please add it to the comments
First up, the details. It's 34.2km, with 2 big climbs - Lange Raarberg, 1,300m at 4.5%, and then the legendary, fantastic Cauberg, 1,200m at 5.8% with a maximum gradient at 12%! If only I was on the Cauberg tomorrow! Check out tthe route details.
Here's the startlist, with names and start times.
There are 12 teams racing, starting with Sengers Ladies Team, who go at 11:00 CEST (that's 10am BST; 5am USA Eastern; 2am USA Pacific; 19:00 Australia NSW) then the teams go off at 4-minute intervals, until the last team, Specialized-lululemon, start at 11:44 CEST, 44 minutes later.
And, my predictions. It's got to be Specialized-lululemon for me - they're unbeaten in TTTs since the (unbeatable) Cervélo Test Team morphed into Garmin-Cervélo for 2011, and halved their team.
The Specialized team includes former World ITT Champion, Amber Neben (USA), and there's only one rider on the squad, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger) who hasn't been a National ITT Champion! Charlotte Becker (Ger) Ellen van Dijk (Ned), Evelyn Stevens (USA) and Trixi Worrack (Ger) have all won theirs, at least once - although Teute's been 3rd in the German Champs five times!
But, if there's one rider who knows how to beat Specialized, it's Judith Arndt, who was on T-Mobile and then Highroad, their former incarnations. The current World ITT Champion leads Orica-AIS' squad, who are the biggest challengers for the win. They've come second behind Specialized in every TTT this year: + 40" in the EnergieWacht Tourr (26.5km), + 29" in the OOpen de Sùede Vårgårda TTT World Cup (42.5km) and + 19" in the Brainwash Tour (34km) (links take you to the results of each race on CQ Ranking). The Orica Team is Arndt (Ger), Shara Gillow (Aus), Loes Gunnewijk (Ned), Melissa Hoskins (Aus), Alex Rhodes (Aus) and Linda Villumsen (NZl) - formidable! Expect to see Arndt and Villumsen contesting the ITT win on Tuesday, and Gillow aiming for top 5.
The team that's come third in each TTT is Rabobank. All-round superstar, Marianne Vos (Ned) is skipping the ITT to focus on her goal of winning an Olympic-Worlds double - but with a week between TTT and Road Race, she can go all out! She's racing alongside Tatiana Antoshina (Rus), Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Fra), Thalita de Jong, Iris Slappendel and Annemiek van Vleutenn (all Ned). Here's a video of Rabobank practising:
The final team to watch out for is A AA Drink-Leontien.nll in their last-ever outing. They're super-strong, and Emma Pooley's a former World ITT Champion too. Pooley (GBr) rides with CChantal Blaak (Ned), Lucinda Brand (Ned), Jessie Daams (Bel), Sharon Laws (GBr) (go Sharon!) and KKirsten Wild (Ned), and they'll be fighting hard to get on the podium (not least in the hope of attracting a sponsor to continue the team) My prediction? Specialized win, then Orica, then Rabo. Yes, yes, I know, Jens, that's a brave call! But it should be exciting to watch!
How to follow the race
The only place we've seen that seem to be showing this live is Dutch Channel L1, whose schedule says they're showing the women's TTT live from 10:30 CEST - and they stream live and un-georestricted here. Thankyou L1TV! Thanks Monty for finding this! As Monty says, they're also showing the junior and u23 races, so bookmark that schedule and link.
I recommend everyone follows Bridie O'Donnell on twitter, as she could be live-commentweeting the race on twitter, and she always combines excellent insight with snark and wit.
There should be a livethread right here on Podium Café too, and I'll be tweeting as @_pigeons_ as always.
And, because every time I think of Team Time Trialling, I remember that Cervélo Test Team's unstoppable TTT, and because it's a good excuse to, here's the Beyond The Peloton video from the 2010 Vårgårda TTT World Cup, in the rain.
Damn, I miss that team... If that's the first time you've seen this, check out the BTP video of Vårgårda part 2 - the Road Race World Cup - and I guess you could watch the CTT men's team videos too! Start here and work backwards.