Talk of the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Qatar has so far focussed on the negative stories – the threatened WorldTour team boycott of the men’s team time trial, and rumours the elite races might have to be shortened because of the heat, for example.
But the action finally gets underway in Doha this weekend, with the team time trials, followed by the individual time trials at the start of next week.
After the threatened boycott, the UCI did not make the team time trial compulsory, and consequently 15 teams will make up the men’s race (ten from the WorldTour, including Team Sky) and eight teams are expected on the women’s start ramp.
The individual time trials, on pan-flat but very technical courses have welcomed some stellar casts, however, even if neither Olympic champion – 43-year-old Kristin Armstrong (USA) and 35-year-old Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) – could be tempted to Doha.
National champions Scott Davies (men’s under-23), Hayley Simmonds (elite women) and Alex Dowsett (elite men) are among the Brits in action, while Dutch duo Anna van der Breggen and Tom Dumoulin start high on the list of favourites for their respective elite events.
So, with the Championships now finally getting underway, what can we expect from Doha 2016? We’ve taken a closer look at the time trials…