In store for the riders on the Richmond course is 38.8km of pain over what is generally considered one of the most intense efforts on a bike. While not overly technical, there are a number of 90 Degree turns in quick succession where it will be important to keep together and stay smooth. The final test of the day will be a 300m at 10 per cent within the last kilometre, and a false flat through to the finish line. The forecast is for hot conditions, with a maximum of 30 degrees expected, and only a slight chance of rain, which should make for fast racing.
As defending champion BMC Racing are logical favourites. They won their most recent outings against the clock at the Tour de France and the Criterium du Dauphine, but both of the recent wins were achieved with very small margins, and it won’t take much for those results to go the other way. They bring a powerhouse line-up to the race with in-form Rohan Dennis joined by Taylor Phinney, who is making a comeback from injury, impressive youngster Stefan Kung, who looks like the next big in time trialling, backed up by experienced professionals like Manuel Quinziato. They will have targeted this event, run on home soil, for their sponsors and for their American fans.
Orica-GreenEDGE go in as one of the favourites. The team isn’t packed full of stars, or even riders who consistently win individual time trials, but they are always in contention for any TTT they target. The squad that they bring to Richmond contains the core that has been the driving power behind their great TTT performances, with Svein Tuft, Michael Hepburn, Luke Durbridge and Jens Mouris all part of the silver medal performances of the past two seasons at the Worlds. They recently lost their cohesion on a technical section in the Tour of Alberta TTT, where they led by 16 seconds after the second time split, but finished second by a fraction. They may be better suited to the non-technical Richmond course.
Etixx-QuickStep are past title holders (2012/13) but have not been at the top of the TTT scene this year. Even when they ran the core of the TTT squad at Romandie and the Dauphine, they were behind the best teams, a surprise for this normally dominant squad. Headlining the team’s problems is the form of time trial star, Tony Martin, who has been in the habit of quitting his races recently, failing to finish at his last four starts. Other riders like Michal Kwiatkowski, Tom Boonen and Niki Terpstra add a lot of power to the team, but they will need their German team-mate to be firing if they want to take the top step of the podium.
Movistar always deliver good results in the TTT. Despite not possessing the strongest riders in the discipline they are able to be competitive in a collective effort against the clock. Firepower in the form of Alex Dowsett, Jonothan Castroviejo and Adriano Malori have brought them close to some big wins. They were a handful of seconds off BMC in the Dauphine and at the Tour de France. This time the team will field just their core TTT riders, without the baggage of small climbers to tow around. Given the muscle in the line-up it would not be a surprise to see them take the win.
While the possibility exists for an upset, the winner should come from one of the above teams. It isn’t all about winning and losing though. One unique outcome from the re-introduction of TTT is that Pro Continental teams also get to strut their stuff on the big stage. So for Australian viewers it will also be a rare opportunity to see Angus and Lachlan Morton on your screens in their colourful Jelly Belly kit.