Preview: The Under-23 time trial

cycling, time trial, cancellara, tony martin, shara gillow, bradley wiggins, evelyn stevens, judith arndt, richie porte
Medal contenders... Damien Howson and Campbell Flakemore set to ride the UCI Road World Championship Under 23 ITT as co-favourites.

Fresh off a one-two finish at the Chrono Champenois, Campbell Flakemore and Damien Howson will line up in the Under-23 time trial as co-favourites.

Looking forward to worlds in seven days in Florence.

Flakemore became the third Australian in three years to win the title at Champenois, in France, following in the footsteps of Rohan Dennis (2012) and Luke Durbridge (2011).

The race is considered an excellent form gauge for riders heading to worlds, with the proximity of the race, and its history for anticipating world champions pumping up Flakemore and Howson’s tyres, but the two aren’t the only riders to be aware of.

The 43.5 kilometre course from Pistoia to Firenze skips the hill the elite men will have to face, allowing the riders to settle into their rhythms and pump out big watts.

At 43.5 kilometres it’s at the longer end of individual time trials at espoirs (Under-23) level, which tend to limit themselves to distances of less than 30 kilometres. That does add a certain x-factor to the worlds event, where an extra 10 minutes of threshold effort might tip a medal-contender over the edge.

The pool of favourites however still won't be more than a handful. Aside from Howson and Flakemore, riders to beat include Dane Lasse Norman Hansen, the Olympic omnium champion, and Swiss chrono expert Stefan Kung (BMC Development Team).

But the Australians stand apart. As well as Champenois, Flakemore has won two other time trials this year, and at 21 has significantly progressed this season.
Damien Howson at last year's UCI Road World Championships in Limburg. The Australian finished with bronze. (Getty Images)

Howson meanwhile is the bronze medal winner from last year’s championship, and has spent the last two months riding with Orica-GreenEDGE as a trainee. Howson has also won the Oceania ITT championship the last three years.

The Under-23 ITT Championship begins broadcast at 2130 AEST online right here at Cycling Central and on SBS2 from 2230.

Broadcast and streaming details for all scheduled events details can be found at the Cycling Central UCI Road World Championships event page.

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