Yeah, yeah I know. There’s mountains in Spain. And apparently some are entertained by skybot trains. But I need you to switch your attention northwards for a moment. Aaaaaaaaall the way to Bergen, Norway. Because in a week, it’s rainbow time in the land up north.
There’s team time trials and regular time trials of course, but for this we’re going to focus on the road race and what countries get to send what folks up to the land of the Vikings.
Women’s road race
Eight riders: The Netherlands (maximum team size plus the European champion Marianne Vos), Australia (maximum team size plus Oceania champion Lisen Hockings)
Seven riders: Italy, USA, GB, Denmark (one of the seven must be world champ Amalie Dideriksen).
Six riders: Poland, Belgium (woohoo), Denmark, Germany, Canada, Finland, South Africa, France, Norway, Spain
Five riders: Sweden, Cuba, Luxembourg, Russia, Belarus
Four riders: Mauritius (default three plus African champion Aurelie Halbwachs), Hong Kong (default three plus Asian champion Qianyu Yang), Chile (default three plus Pan-American champion Andrea Muñoz Grandon)
Three riders: any other country that wants to go
Sooooooo, what does that mean?
- The system ensures that just one woman who can ride a bike makes it enough for the nation to send a decent squad. Arlenis pretty much ensures Cuba a five person team all by her lonesome.
- Denmark has the current champion with Amalie Dideriksen. Back-up comes from Julie Leth, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Pernille Mathiesen, Camilla Møllebro, Trine Schmidt and Christina Siggard.
- The USA will put their money on current RVV champion Coryn Rivera I’d assume. She’ll get help from Megan Guarnier, Amber Neben and Lauren Stephens among others.
- Marianne Vos’ starred Euro jersey gives Holland an extra rider, which is an advantage they don’t really seem to need. Will be helping Vos as she tries to win her 87st world title: Ellen van Dijk, Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten, Chantal Blaak, Amy Pieters, Lucinda Brand and Janneke Ensing. That’s a scary squad.
- Even more unfair it would seem that Australia gets to send an extra rider for winning the Oceanian champs. You beat the kiwis, big deal. The Aussies, kind as they are, are only taking five riders though. Well, I say kind, but really it’s just sexist as hell. The powers that be down under only deem five women good enough to go, when they’ve qualified for seven. Even more strange is that they’re leaving Chloe Hosking, still Australia’s top-ranked rider and eighth in the entire goddamn world, at home. They are, of course, sending a full men’s squad. Read on to find out what hot stars get to fill up that quota.
- Jolien D’Hoore is the star of the Belgian squad. She gets help from Jessy Druyts, Ann-Sophie Duyck, Lotte Kopecky and Kelly Van den Steen.
Men’s road race
Nine riders: Belgium (yeah baby), Colombia, Spain, France, Italy, Australia, The Netherlands, GB, Germany, Norway
Six riders: Poland, Slovakia, Ireland, Slovenia, Denmark, USA, Switzerland, Czech Rep, Portugal, Russia
Three riders: Luxembourg, Austria, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Eritrea, Estonia
One rider: Latvia, Iran, Morocco, Romania, Lithuania, Venezuela, Argentina, Turkey, Costa Rica, Japan, Ecuador, Croatia, Rwanda, Brazil, Sweden, Korea (the benevolent one), Algeria, Tunisia, China, Azerbaijan
- Every race, from men’s junior ITT to the women’s road race, gives extra slots to the continental champions. But not the men’s road race, because not being consistent is very important to the UCI.
- The course in Bergen is sorta undulating, with the the 6.4% Salmon Hill on every lap. France, however, is pretty sure it’s not going to end in a bunch sprint. No Démare and no Bouhanni in their squad, which will be spearheaded by Alaphillipe. They’re also bringing Barguil, Tarzan and Gallopin among others. Of course any team headed by Ala is a good team, but sometimes having a plan B isn’t a bad thing. Bouhanni is pissed for not being selected, but then again, when isn’t he.
- Germany has more of a dual horse approach. They’re bringing Degs as their main man, even though he left the Vuelta with bronchitis in week 1. T-Mart, Arndt and Buchmann are some of his helpers, as is Zabel jr. No Kitty in the German selection though, but he hasn’t exactly been rocking it after his TdF crash. No Greipel either, so not fully committed to the sprint.
- Belgium is bringing Sep Vanmarcke nor Thomas De Gendt. We’re bloody idiots. Do get to play in Norway: Tiesj, Phil GIl, Keukie, Belgian champ Naesen (he beat Sep to the last spot), Stuyven, Dylan Teuns, GVA, Vermote and Tim Wellens. Plan A will be Phil Gil or GVA.
- Sagan junior gets to bring five mates. Slovakia’s second best cyclist (according to cqranking) is Patrik Tybor from the Dukla Banska Bystrica team. Yeah, me neither.
- Winning on home turf is always fun, but with two weeks to go til the road race, Norway is already fighting amongst each other. Dixit Kristoff about Boss Hog: "We’re still not agreeing on what happened last year. We’ll never work for each other. We will both do our best, but there will be no cooperation." Epic sandbagging.
- With VDS absolutely not on my mind Sagan will have to beat Colombia’s Gaviria to prolong his rainbow title. ‘El Dream Team de Colombia’, as local media is calling it, also consists of two Henao’s, two-in-one Urans, Quintana, Pantano, Valencia and... two other dudes.
- One of Gav’s biggest competitors is probably Aussie’s Bling, who gets a full team as back-up, because they’re men. No Ewan. I can’t believe Hayman is still riding, and still good enough to get a ticket to Norway. Same goes for Glorious. He has six race days under his belt in 2017. Watch out world!
- Switzerland should get Fabs to unretire. They have to round out their six men squad with Fabian Lienhard (Team Vorarlberg, 23). Also, I’d get to watch at Fabs again. Albasini and Küng lead the way.
- The USA will also be there.
- Holland is not bringing Groenewegen, but is instead focusing on mountain goats like Doom, Mollema and Poels. Boom is also going. Lars Boom! Explain that. Ok yes he appears to be leading ToBritain. A: big fucking deal. B: Dutch team selection was made way before SSBR.
- Ok, ok. The USA is bringing Brent Bookwalter, Joey Rosskopf and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), Nate Brown and Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac), and Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo). The Velonews article on the team selection is hilariously American. "There is definitely no lack of strength among the squad. Van Garderen won a stage of the Giro d’Italia back in May and is slated to finish 10th overall at La Vuelta a España. Brown wore the polka-dot jersey at the Tour de France and Howes recently won a stage of the Tour of Alberta." Alberta you guys!
- Spain, Italy, GB are still pondering and haven’t come up with more than a long list.
TIL The official name of Venezuela is the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Thanks UCI!