2018 UCI Men's Road World Championship will be contested on the roads of Innsbruck (Austria). The race will be brutal. The course is 252.9km long with 4,670m of climbing - the greatest elevation gain in a World Championship since the mid-1990s. Read here our 2018 Cycling World Championship betting preview, best odds, expert tips on Stage Winner & Head to Head, massive bonuses & no deposit free bets for cycling fans!
2018 UCI ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BETTING PREVIEW
The course has been divided into three distinct sections. The first one goes from Kufstein to Innsbruck (84.7km), flat but possibly windy. It features only one notable climb - the 2.7km long Gnadenwald ascent which averages 10%.
The second section consists of 6 laps of the Olympic Circuit (142.8km). Each lap is 23.8km long and require riders to climb a 7.9km ascent that average beetween 6% and 10%.
Finally, there's another Olympic Circuit lap that includes the Höttinger Höll climb (31km), a nasty 3.2km long ascent at an average gradient of 11.5% and a maximum gradient of 28%. It peaks just 8.3km from the finish.
There’s no denying that it’s an extremely challenging circuit and one that will ensure that only the strongest riders have a chance at victory.
Peter Sagan has won the last three editions of the World Championship, but this year's race looks too tough for the Slovakian. Anyway, he is a brilliant descender and one of the fastest finishers in the peloton. Sagan himself labelled a fourth consecutive world title ‘not impossible’.
Climbers have to make the race as hard as they possibly can to eliminate strong fast men like Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet. The Belgian could be a strong contender should he be able to last until the top of the last climb.
France stand out as the favourite to win the race. Julian Alaphillippe, Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot are all expected to start and all could realistically win the race. Alaphilippe, who has won two mountain stages at the Tour De France on his way to winning the KOM jersey, has recently posted a short video in which he shows all the power he can put on the final ascent. Furthermore, He’s one of the best descenders in the peloton.
Vuelta a Espana champion Simon Yates and twin brother Adam lead the British charge in that race. Adam Yates is the more renowned one-day racer, having won the Clasica San Sebastian and finished second at Milano-Torino last year. His descending is his weakness.
Primoz Roglic is another viable option as he is in great shape this season. The Slovenian was the best climber at the Tour De France few months ago, winning the Queen Stage over the Aspin, Tourmalet and Aubisque. He also pocketed the GC’s at the Tour of the Basque Country and the Tour de Romandie. His decision to skip the Worlds time trial (where he was second last year) shows his commitment.
Michal Kwiatkowski won on a similarly climb-heavy course in Ponferrada back in 2014, attacking on the final climb and staying away on the descent. This season he took the GC at the Tirreno-Adriatico, but his versatile prize list also features victories in Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo, Clásica de San Sebastián, E3 Harelbeke and the Amstel Gold Race.
Also in contention will be the likes of Vincenzo Nibali. The Italian used the Vuelta a Espana to refind his fitness after crashing out of the Tour de France. Gianni Moscon is Italy's co-captain having won the Coppa Agostoni and Giro della Toscana this month.
Domenico Pozzovivo also looks in good shape ahead of the Worlds. He is a natural climber with a good stamina. His descender skills are not as good but Pozzovivo can't be ruled out.
Spain's main hope is Alejandro Valverde. He has a record total of six Worlds road race podiums — four times third and twice second. The Spaniard is in great form - he recorded 13 wins for the year, including two stage wins at the Vuelta.
Vuelta runner-up Enric Mas is the back-up option for Spain. The 23-year-old showed at the Vuelta that he can beat the best uphill, and has a good sprint too.
Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez brings great form into the race after finishing third at the recent Vuelta. He will be supported by Sergio Henao, Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Uran.
Tom Dumoulin leads the Dutch team, with the likes of Bauke Mollema, Wout Poels, Steven Kruijswijk and Wilco Kelderman all expected trying to escape before the final climbs.
Michael Woods (Canada), Daniel Martin (Ireland), Dylan Teuns (Belgium), Matej Mohoric (Slovenia) and Omar Fraile (Spain) could well slip under the radar.
2018 UCI ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS
- Julian Alaphilippe @ 5/1
- Alejandro Valverde @ 11/2
- Simon Yates @ 14/1
- Primoz Roglic @ 18/1
- Adam Yates @ 18/1
- Vincenzo Nibali @ 18/1
- Michal Kwiatkowski @ 18/1
- Wout Poels @ 25/1
- Gianni Moscon @ 28/1
- Thibaut Pinot @ 28/1
- Romain Bardet @ 33/1
- Daniel Martin @ 40/1
- Tom Dumoulin @ 40/1
- Rigoberto Uran @ 45/1
- Enric Mas Nicolau @ 50/1
- Michael Woods @ 50/1
- Peter Sagan 50/1
- Jakob Fuglsang @ 50/1
- Dylan Teuns @ 66/1
- Miguel Angel Lopez @ 66/1
- Bob Jungels @ 66/1
- Tim Wellens @ 66/1
- Rafal Majka @ 80/1
- Matej Mohoric @ 80/1
- Greg Van Avermaet @ 80/1
- Tony Gallopin @ 80/1
- Nairo Quintana @ 80/1
- Sergio Luis Henao @ 80/1
- Bauke Mollema @ 80/1
- Patrick Konrad @ 100/1
- Domenico Pozzovivo @ 100/1
- Richard Carapaz @ 125/1 @
- Rui Costa @ 125/1
2018 UCI ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PREDICTIONS
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