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Shimano-sponsored riders ready to shine at 2015 UCI Road World Championships

With big names like Froome, Cavendish and Cancellara pulling out of the competition, picking the winner of the men’s road race in this year’s UCI Road World Championships is about as easy as climbing Mont Ventoux on a pogo stick. One thing’s for sure though, with 12 races over nine days of competition, it’s a safe bet that several in-form Shimano-sponsored riders will take home some of the glory.

Shimano-sponsored BMC Racing Team have already done that, winning the men’s team time trial. The defending champions beat runners up Etixx-Quick-Step by 12 seconds. Rohan Dennis said afterwards “to win again and really put our mark on the team time trial is really big.”

There was also no change in the women’s TTT event, with defending champions Velocio-SRAM taking victory for the fourth consecutive year. But it was no wal-over, as they won by just 6 seconds after an epic battle with Boels Dolmans who led right through to the final time check.

The men’s individual time trial is a 53 km course with most of the turns in the last kilometres, not to mention a false flat to the finish line. Two Shimano-sponsored riders in particular have a great chance of a podium finish. Red-hot BMC rider Rohan Dennis also has a chance here. He won the opening stage of the Tour de France this year, a time trial through the streets of Utrecht, the Netherlands. And keep your eyes on top trialist Tom Dumoulin of Giant-Alpecin. He finished in fourth place, eight seconds behind Dennis at the Tour de France. But it was Dumoulin’s sizzling form in La Vuelta earlier this month that raised eyebrows, especially when he turned the race upside down after crushing his rivals in the individual time trial. Fingers crossed he’s not over the peak yet and comes to Richmond with enough still in the tank.

The men’s road race is anybody’s guess. You’d need a third hand, so to speak, to count potential winners. We’ve always got high hopes for Michael Matthews. The ORICA-GreenEDGE rider has had a run of bad luck with accidents these past two years, but it’s just a matter of time before his star shines. He told the media that he’s in the best form of his life right now and geared his whole season to this one race. You’d have to fancy Philippe Gilbert’s chances too. Another BMC racer, he won the 2012 road race in style. Or how about Greg van Avermaet, Gilbert’s teammate at BMC? The route, with cobbled climbs and a false flat at the finish, suits riders who are at home with the classics, and these two guys certainly know their classics, especially Gilbert. He has won more classics than we have room to list here.

Changing of the guard

The biggest news in the women’s competition isn’t great news. A persistent hamstring injury has sidelined Shimano-sponsored superstar Vos most of this year and has forced her to withdraw from the Worlds. This has left the door wide open for Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team’s other superstar, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot. Already holder of the rainbow jersey, she will most likely be looking over her shoulder to size up her rivals. Emma Johansson of Orica-AIS is winding down her career and will be motivated to the hilt to end up on the podium.

Check out our gallery in the coming days as we follow hundreds of men, women, under 23s and juniors from over 70 countries and post full-action and behind-the-scenes photos. And we’ll be back with more news when it’s all over to tell you all about our riders’ trials, tribulations and triumphs.