Men’s road preview, pt II

Part two of procycling's preview of the men's world road championship assesses the chances of four m

Part two of procycling’s preview of the men’s world road championship assesses the chances of four m

PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE France Without a rainbow jersey since Laurent Brochard took the honours at San Sebastian in 1997, France now seem resigned to a role of plucky outsiders. It is a testimony to how scare selector Fred Moncassin’s resources currently are that Brochard is still one of his linchpins at the age of 36. Brochard said of his young team-mates on Friday: “We can’t enter the race with big ambitions. There aren’t many riders on our team who can go beyond 220km. It’s logical in view of the average age of the riders. But I hope that they will learn to be daring, and not to be frightened.” In view of both the course profile and current form, David Moncouti, Sylvain Calzati, and Jrme Pineau look the likeliest to save French face. Line-up: Laurent Brochard; Sylvain Calzati; Sandy Casar; Cyril Dessel; Christophe Le Mevel; Eric Leblacher; David Moncoutie; Pineau Jrme; Franck Renier; Christophe Rinero; Yannick Talabardon; Nicolas Vogondy. Australia Another injured-blighted season and 60th position on GC in the recent Vuelta a Espana ensure that Cadel Evan’s world championship ambitions remain firmly grounding entering tomorrow’s road race. Despite a difficult circuit which should suit the Davitamon-Lotto bound climber, Evans on Saturday admitted that Stuart O’Grady represents by far Australia’s best chance of a road race medal to go with Michael Roger’s time trial gold. “We don’t have a lot apart from Stuey,” Evans admitted this morning. “I certainly won’t be holding up my hand saying that I am going to win. Our advantage is that we have a very balanced team. Anything can happen at the worlds, too. This race is the biggest lottery in world cycling.” Line-up: Paul Crake; Allan Davis; Scott Davis; Cadel Evans; Simon Gerrans; Mathew Hayman; David McPartland; Stuart O’Grady; Luke Roberts; Michael Rogers; Matthew White. Germany If internal strife before a major tournament isn’t a solely Italian preserve, then it must also be a German national tradition. This time it’s not the national football team but the road race cyclists who are at each others throat following Andreas Klden’s comments earlier this week that in 2005 the T-Mobile team will go to the Tour without a sprinter. Erik Zabel has responded by launching his own counter-attack on Klden: “There you see how a place on the Tour de France podium changes a person,” he snorted. This comes hot on the heels of an interview with Jan Ullrich in which “Der Kaiser” said that he would lobby for Rudy Pevenage’s reinstatement at T-Mobile when team-manager Walter Godefroot hands over to Olaf Ludwig at the end of next season. What fun the Germans have been having. From a sporting point of view it is rather ironic that Erik Zabel probably represents the ace in the German’s pack following Ullrich’s withdrawal with stomach problems. Despite the demanding course in Verona, Zabel proved on several occasions at the Vuelta that he can climb while retaining enough of his sprinting speed to remain dangerous. For an outside bet, the best credentials belong to Matthias Kessler and Fabian Wegmann, although neither is at their best after a personally gruelling season. Line-up: Rolf Aldag; Markus Fothen; Danilo Hondo; Matthias Kessler; Sebastian Lang; Ronny Scholz; Stephan Schreck; Stefan Schumacher; Fabian Wegmann; Christian Werner; Steffen Wesemann; Erik Zabel. Denmark For three years Michael Rasmussen has been looking forward to this world championships more or less staged in his adoptive Italian backyard. Unfortunately the Castelnuovo-based Danish climber has been troubled by tendinitis and a nasty crash in the Giro dell’Emilia. Despite admitting to uncertainty about his form, Rasmussen proclaimed himself fit and ready for battle earlier this week. The Rabobank-rider will be the captain of the Danish team and can count on Nicki Sorensen as his super-domestique. Lars Ytting Bak; Michael Blaudzun; Frank Hoj; Ren Joergensen; Allan Johansen; Michel Rasmussen; Michael Skelde; Nicki Sorensen.