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World Championships

A record contingent from IWG will compete for the world title

After the eighth place of Quinten Hermans and the Belgian team in the Mixed Relay and fourth place of Madis Mihkels in the U23 road race, eight riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will compete for the title of world champion in the elite category this Sunday, a record for the World Team.

The start will be given at 2h15 CEST (10h15 local time) for a race of 267 kilometer. From Helensburgh, the peloton first has to cover 61.5 kilometer with the Mount Keira (7.5 km at 5.7%), before starting the eleven laps through Wollongong containing the Mount Pleasant (1.1km at 8.6%).


Norwegian rider Alexander Kristoff, the vice world champion of Bergen 2017, receives the opportunity to finish in the top ten for the sixth time in eight participations. Therefore, he can rely on the support of his compatriot Sven Erik Bystrøm, the U23 world champion of Ponferrada 2014. Also Jan Hirt (Czech Republic) and Georg Zimmermann(Germany) are familiar with the world championships as they both participate for the third time in the elite category. 

Almost exactly one year after writing history with his silver medal in the U23 race in Leuven, Biniam Girmay (Eritrea) will defend the colors of his country for the first time in the elite category, just like Quinten Hermans (Belgium), Lorenzo Rota (Italy) and Taco van der Hoorn (The Netherlands).

« After the spring classics and the Giro, I focused on my third main goal of the season: the World Championships. Last winter we planned with the team that I would prepare this important race with a long training period at altitude in Asmara, a couple of stage races and a series of one day races on courses similar to the one of Wollongong, like the GP Plouay, the Tour du Doubs or the Canadian classics. Despite my two crashes a couple of weeks ago, my condition improved week by week. And just like for my previous goals, I’m convinced that my preparation was ideal to line up in my best condition. » « For my first elite World Championships, I’m hoping for a scenario similar to the one of last year in the U23 category, when I won the silver medal. Our nation doesn’t have to carry the weight of the race. Among my teammates, I can rely on Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Merhawi Kudus, who are also part of the World Tour peloton and showed that they can manage long races. If we can survive until the final, we need to make the right tactical choices. On paper, there are many contenders for the title. But after 267 kilometer, the question is who’s most fresh. »

Biniam Girmay will represent his country on a custom Litening C:68X AERO bike, designed by CUBE Bikes in the colors of Eritrea.

« My first elite World Championships were twelve years ago in Geelong, Australia, and we won the rainbow jersey thanks to Thor Hushovd. This week, my compatriots again brilliantly represented Norway by winning two time trial world titles. I hope to add a title in the elite road race on Sunday, even though I know it will be difficult. Riders like Wout Van Aert are in principle stronger than me on such a difficult course. But the World Championships are always unpredictable, there’s always a chance. For example, imagine that the attackers watch each other and that I manage to get back in the front. It is in long and challenging races that I can show myself best. That’s why I often managed to finish in the top ten in the World Championships. Only the victory is missing, so I’m very motivated. »

Norges Cykleforbundet


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