The defending world champions talk about Imola 2020

The best men and women riders have arrived in Italy because the UCI 2020 Road World Championships in Imola – Emilia-Romagna are starting on Thursday. The Tour de France and the Women’s Giro d’Italia Rosa are over so now is the time to try out the worlds race courses that will assign the four coveted rainbow jerseys between the 24th and the 27th of September. The first two are for time trial specialists. Both the men and the women will challenge each other over a mostly flat 31,7 km course. The defending champions won’t fail to show their talent.

The American rider Chloé Dygert will give it a try, although she hasn’t raced much in the past months because of Covid-19 which has messed up, among many other things, also the race schedule of her TWENTY20 Pro Cycling Team.

“I am really happy to be in Italy to try to defend my rainbow jersey. It is going to be interesting to find out if it is possible to win a worlds when it is the first race of the season, and in any case I’m very grateful to be given the chance to race again. It is a great honour to wear the world champion’s jersey, and I would love to be able to keep it for another year.”

says the 23-year old who is the winner of five track world championships, two in the individual pursuit and three in the team pursuit in addition to the individual time trial last year in Yorkshire.

Rohann Dennis, who is ready to don the Australia national team body after having raced in the Tirreno-Adriatico with the Ineos Grenadiers Team, is aiming for an historic third win. 

The Worlds has been on my mind throughout the lockdown. Regardless of the category it is always a great honour to race with the rainbow jersey. Every time I wear it I race to win. I am in good shape. It is always very special to participate in the most important race of the year, but to get a chance to fight for a win for the third time in a row and join an exclusive group of champions who have achieved this feat will be fantastic.”

says the 30-year-old from Adelaide, who has already been the n.1 in the Worlds time trial in 2018 and 2019.

Mads Pedersen, the defending road race champion who beat the Italian Matteo Trentin and the Swiss Stefan Küng one year ago under the pouring rain of Great Britain is not going to be in Imola. 

I started my year with the rainbow jersey in the Australian heat but after the Paris-Nice race for a long time I was forced to wear it only for training rides because of the coronavirus. It was a relief to win in Poland, it was a real thrill to win a race while wearing this jersey. I have enjoyed it every single day at the Tour de France.” 

says the 24-year-old Trek Segafredo Team rider, who deemed the 28,8 km course beginning and ending in the Imola Racetrack, to be covered 9 times by the men and 5 times by the women, too demanding.

Instead Annemiek van Vleuten, the number one rider in women’s cycling for the last few seasons might get really excited on the two climbs. The 37-year-old Dutch woman from Team Mitchelton Scott crashed when she was wearing the pink jersey during the seventh stage of the women’s Giro d’Italia on the 17th of September and broke her left wrist. Nevertheless, after having undergone surgery in Holland last Sunday, she hasn’t excluded being able to participate.

 “The fracture isn’t too bad, so there still is a slight chance that I might be able to compete with my teammates to defend the jersey on a course that really suits me. I’ll have to see how I am feeling in the next days and do my best to recover. In the meantime I am riding the rollers while wearing a brace to avoid exerting my injured arm.”

Champions never give up, particularly if they have already experienced the thrill of wearing the rainbow jersey.


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