Road World Championships: Britain underdogs in men’s road race – Rod Ellingworth

Cycling


Ben Swift was an original member of the Sky road team when it formed in 2010
Road World Championships 2017: Men’s elite race
Host: Bergen, Norway Date: 24 September
Coverage: 09:00-16:30 BST – Connected TV and online (uninterrupted coverage); 09:00-14:00 – BBC Red Button; 13:00-16:30 – BBC Two. Full broadcast schedule here

Britain’s riders will be “real underdogs” in the men’s road race at the World Championships in Norway, according to coach Rod Ellingworth.

Mark Cavendish, the 2011 world champion, and Geraint Thomas withdrew from selection for the 267.5km race in Bergen because of injury.

“We don’t have a favourite here. It’s a little bit unfortunate,” Ellingworth, 45, told BBC Sport.

“Maybe a top-10 finish could be realistic, if everything went our way.”

The race begins with a 40km ride to Bergen, before riders complete 12 laps of a circuit around the city. A climb up Mount Ulriken is then followed by a flat run into the city.

Ben Swift, 29, is likely to be Great Britain’s best hope of victory in the absence of Cavendish and Thomas.

“We’ve got quite a young team. It’s the first time myself and Ian Stannard are the oldest in the team,” he said.

“It’s quite a daunting experience. But we’ve got a young, excitable team that wants to gel well and ride well together. We can really fly under the radar and hopefully ride well together.”

Slovakia’s Peter Sagan, who has won the previous two world titles, is among the favourites for this year’s race.

The 27-year-old was disqualified from the Tour de France in July after elbowing Cavendish during a sprint finish on stage four.

“It’s a different race. What happened in the Tour de France has already gone,” he said.

“I’m like last year – I’ve got nothing to lose. I’m very happy already with what I did the last few years and I want to enjoy tomorrow.

Blaak wins world title despite early crash



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