• Katrin Garfoot in action during the 2015 UCI Road World Championship women's time trial (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Flat, hot and technical. That’s what the women’s individual time trial promises for riders in this year’s world championships.
By
Jamie Finch-Penninger

11 Oct 2016 - 3:42 PM  UPDATED 11 Oct 2016 - 3:51 PM

Whatever you think of the decision to hold one of the biggest events of the season in a desert country where the average high sits at 38 Degrees, it will certainly mean that the win will go to the toughest rider out there.

The course itself is just shy of two complete circuits of ‘The Pearl’, the man-made island that seems almost entirely composed of hotels and marinas.

20 turns throughout the course will mean that it’s a non-traditional time trial. It will be hard to maintain a consistent pace throughout with all the rhythm changes. It may suit a more versatile rider than your traditional time-trial powerhouses.

 

One rider who will not be there is 2015 world champion, Linda Villumsen. The New Zealander wasn’t satisfied after missing out on a medal at the Olympics and opted to pack in her season early rather than extend to Doha.

The other big name missing is Kristin Armstrong, the Olympic gold medallist. The 43-year old is in Doha, she led the Twenty16-RideBiker in the Team Time Trial (TTT), but wasn't selected, with Carmen Small and Amber Neben preferred. 

Australian hopes will rest with Katrin Garfoot. The 35-year old recently celebrated her birthday and will be hoping that a belated gift from the world championships will see her climb atop the podium.

Garfoot's unlikely path to Rio
It’s a long way from the Balmoral B-grade club criteriums to the pressure and the atmosphere of the Rio de Janiero Olympics. Few would have thought it possible for a 29-year-old making her racing debut in Murarrie, but with the team for the Games set to be announced soon Katrin Garfoot is all but certain to be announced as completing the unlikely feat.

She had built her season around being competitive at the Olympics but an illness in the weeks leading up really hampered her preparation. In that context, finishing ninth in the time trial was very impressive and it has only made her hungry for this race.

She’s coming in with hot form, beating a number of her fellow contenders at the recent Chrono Champenois, winning by 18 seconds.

Her hot form won’t fall afoul of the heat either, Garfoot has excelled in the heat in the past, her January in Australia was top notch and then she won a stage in Qatar in February.

The naturalised German-Aussie will be right in the mix here and after missing out by only nine seconds last year, she’s in prime position to turn the tables.

The Dutch, who field three riders, will mount the biggest challenge for Garfoot. Anna van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten and Ellen van Dijk are each equally able to win here.

On the flat terrain here, you would probably give van Dijk the edge as she is more of your traditional time-triallist, but the technical nature of the course puts it back in favour of the superior bike handlers. Van Dijk is flying at the moment, coming off a second behind Garfoot and then wins at the European TT championships and the Worlds TTT with Boels-Dolmans.

It would be particularly sweet if Annemiek van Vleuten could get up for the win after the horror crash took her out of the gold medal position in the road race in Rio. She has recovered remarkably, winning her first race back, the Lotto Belgium Tour, and at her best won’t be far off the win.

The controversial figure of Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) shouldn’t be ignored either. Her performance at the Olympics for silver showed that she’s right at the top of her game at the moment and strong recent form confirms that she won’t be far away from another medal.

Lisa Brennauer (Germany), Carmen Small and Amber Neben (both USA) are other names that have the potential to be right in the mix for the medals as well and a lot will depend on who has the legs to win at this stage of the season, who has the best preparation for the heat and can pace the race the best.

If it’s anywhere near as exciting as the world championships last season, where the top four positions were separated by only nine seconds, then it will be must-watch action.

Whilst the Dutch will probably carry favouritism into the race, there’s no reason that Garfoot can’t come away with the first gold medal for Australia in these world championships. 

Cycling Central will be broadcasting the world championships time trials online with streaming starting from 9.05 pm AEST.

Link to Live Stream
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