Several young riders could make their mark in Beijing, with Simon Yates among them.
The British Orica-GreenEDGE man is more likely to be riding in support of Daryl Impey, however, as Yates looks to end a stunning debut season on a high.
Julian Arredondo, King of the Mountains at the Giro d’Italia, is another rider with the opportunity to impress with Trek Factory Racing team-mate Robert Kiserlovski another big contender overall.
In Alberto Contador’s absence, Tinkoff-Saxo are yet to confirm their line-up but with Roman Kreuziger available for selection, the Czech rider will hope to be making headlines for the right reasons after being cleared of any wrongdoing in light of his biological passport irregularities.
Carlos Betancur, meanwhile, will be keen to show Ag2r-La Mondiale bosses he has improved his fitness and condition ahead of the season’s final race.
The Paris-Nice winner missed the Tour de France and rode the Vuelta a Espana distinctly out of shape in a bid to reclaim some fitness.
However, the French team are backing the Colombian as they bid to finish as high up the WorldTour rankings as possible – victory for Betancur alone could lift them as high as fourth.