Once again, our ‘expert’ panel here at Rouleur Towers pit their wits and intimate knowledge of the racing scene against Cycling Mole, our harshest critic and king of the tipster scene, to see who will be crowned King of Yorkshire.
Hours of painstaking research will go into our World Championships picks, whilst stroking our luxuriant hipster beards over a mug of single origin coffee, listening to ambient techno. [Did Moley write this? – Ed]
Can any of us outfox the crafty Mole? Or will he rip us a new one, as per usual? Read on…
Women’s Elite road race: Bradford – Harrogate, 150km
Ben: Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
She’s been on dominant form this year and seems to like racing in the UK (and all other countries to be honest) so I can’t see anyone else getting ahead of her here.
Andy: Coryn Rivera (USA)
I’ll pass on the Dutchies, thanks very much, though they’re clear favourites. Rivera is coming in a little under the radar, despite barely being off the podium in recent months. If she doesn’t win it herself, her team-mate Chloe Dygert Owen will prove either the most super of domestiques or a perfect attacking foil, allowing her team-mate to sit in the wheels. I foresee Rivera pipping Vos on the line.
Miles: Lizzie Deignan (Great Britain)
My pick has to be Lizzie Deignan. A rare opportunity for a local girl, the chance to take a title on home roads will be too good to miss for the comeback queen.
Nick: Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
I think Vos would probably win comfortably on a less selective course, even without the full force of Holland in front of her. On a lumpy, bumpy circuit hitched to this bullet-train of Dutch stormtroopers, and in the form she’s in, she’s as close to a sure thing as you’ll get this week.
Ian: Kasia Niewiadoma (Poland)
The overwhelmingly strong Dutch squad really should have this sewn up one way or another, but if they screw up, who can sneak away in the last 5K and hold it to the line? Kasia can.
Cycling Mole’s Verdict
Another day, another blank. Turns out the world championships are tricky to predict. Time for the women to hit the streets of Harrogate. As always, the Dutch start as the big favourites, as they have four genuine contenders for the title. Those who regularly watch women’s cycling will know that the Dutch don’t always get their tactics right, especially when they don’t have race radios to help. We’re accustomed to them chasing down their own rider, which will certainly give the others hope. The likes of USA, Italy and Australia arrive with strong teams, and will certainly hope to challenge the Dutch, but are they simply in dreamland?
Looking at the picks, Miles is getting pulled into backing a Brit. Lizzie Deignan is an amazing cyclist, but it’s been a while since she challenged the very best. Winning on home roads would be a dream, but I don’t believe in fairy tales. Andy is pinning his hopes on the Yanks, backing the fast finishing Coryn Rivera. She is a former winner of the Tour of Flanders and will hope to have Dygert-Owen to help set up a sprint. Ian has chosen the very reliable Niewiadoma. The Polish star is a regular visitor to the podium in big races, I can’t quite believe she’s still just 24.
Ben and Nick are the only ones to go Dutch, something that confuses me. Both have decided to go with Marianne Vos, one of the best female cyclists of all time. Her current form is off the chart, winning eight of the last eleven races she’s started. The only concern is that the Dutch are so strong, the rainbow jersey could well end up on the shoulders of a teammate.
Verdict – This is a nailed-on win for the Dutch, but will it be Vos, AVB, AVV or Pieters? They have the best squad by a country mile and expect to see them make the lap circuit very tough. When the dust settles, it simply has to be a win for Marianne Vos, her fourth rainbow jersey.