The UCI World Championships Cycling are upon us! Through the Scottish central belt and into the historic city center of Glasgow, the world's best cyclists will gather for what promises to be an exhilarating contest of strenght, strategy and speed. Reigning World Champion Remco Evenepoel is ready to fight the likes of Tadej Pogacar and Mathieu van der Poel, alongside his compatriot Wout van Aert. Eritropoetina guides you through all aspects of this year's World Championship.
The race spans a distance of 271,1 km with a elevation of 3570 m, starting in Edinburgh and finishing on a local circuit in Glasgow. The route to the Glasgow circuit is 124 km long, featuring two notable climbs. The first one is the unmentioned D818, a 5.7 km stretch with an average gradient of 3.0%. The second climb, Crow Road, is a 3.8 km climb with an average gradient of 5.4%. Although there are still 176 km left from the top to the finish line, these climbs add a challenging dimension to the race.
However, there are concerns about the descent of Crow Road. Pictures from April 2023 show a terrible road surface. We hope the authorities have taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the cyclists. Similar concerns extend to the rest of the route, as highlighted in a June 24 article on road.cc.
Once in Glasgow, the riders will have to conquer a 14.3 km lap ten times. Characterized by approximately 45 ninety-degree turns and 7 short kickers, some of which are very steep, this lap leaves little room for flat roads. The lap is quite similar to the UEC 2018 circuit, but this year’s lap is harder due to the addition of Scott Street and the relocation of Montrose Street closer to the finish line.
The lap features seven climbs, each with its unique challenges. The first climb, Gillmorehill, is a 230 m stretch with an average gradient of 4.3% and a maximum gradient of 6.8%. The next three climbs, University Avenue; Great George Street; and Kelvingrove Park, increase in difficulty, with Great George Street being the first real kicker that will leave its mark on the race.
The final two climbs, Scott Street and Montrose Street, are particularly challenging. Scott Street, one of the steepest roads in Glasgow, is a short 154 m climb with an average gradient of 12.9% and a maximum gradient of 22.8%. Montrose Street, in the penultimate kilometer of the lap, is a 163 m climb with an average gradient of 13.4% and a maximum gradient of 15.2%.
From the top of Montrose Street, there's only 1.4km left to the finish, starting with a short descent. The final 500 m features two 90-degree corners and a final straight of 400 m which goes a bit downhill, finishing at George Square.
Concerns about the road surface in Glasgow have been raised recently, with tweets and articles highlighting the repair of potholes and other inequalities. The local inhabitants are understandably upset about the fact that only the circuit is being repaired, leaving other roads in their current state.
In conclusion, the Glasgow Scotland 2023 Men's Road Race presents a very technical, explosive and demanding circuit. The many corners will stretch out the peloton for most of the time and the attacker(s) will be out of sight in no time. Almost every climb starts just after a sharp corner, so much energy will be lost if one is not in the right position. The weather is also an important factor, with rain on this circuit potentially causing a real battlefield.
According to the latest weather predictions (on Friday August 4th) the start of the race should be rather sunny. After that, the peloton will probably have to conquer some light showers in the second half of the race. Temperatures will be around 17-18° C.
We won't see the rainy conditions like we did during the European Championships 2018, but there's only little rain needed to make this circuit tricky. There will be tailwind in the last straight towards the finish, but the street is quite sheltered and going slightly downhill. It's important not to launch the sprint too late.
Other nations will likely base their strategy on the Belgian team which starts with the current World Champion, Remco Evenepoel, as well as 2 other leaders. Wout van Aert and Jasper Philipsen are among the favorites if the race ends in a sprint, while Evenepoel has make a long range attack to extend his tenure in the rainbow jersey.
Should Van Aert really rely on his sprint though? We’ve seen numerous times that his sprint suffers after a long and tough race. We’d love to see him ride in an attacking way as well. His eternal rival, Mathieu van der Poel, also has his eyes set on the world title. He seems to be hyper focused on it after an odd Tour de France which seemed to be more of a training camp for him instead. The Dutchman has a strong team with Dylan van Baarle being the co-leader. The Jumbo-Visma rider is likely looking to shadow Evenepoel for a long range attack while Van der Poel and Van Aert will mark each other out for the final few laps.
We’d love to have seen Matej Mohoric and Tom Pidcock on this course. With the high technical level of this year’s Worlds, we’re sure they had a real shot at the rainbow bands but their priorities are elsewhere with Pidcock targeting the mountainbike title and Mohoric racing in Poland right after the Tour de France.
Tadej Pogacar skipped the traditional post-Tour crits to focus on his preparation for the Worlds, a move that disappointed fans, but was appreciated by Dieter. Tadej has used the Tour de France as the perfect preparation for the road race in Glasgow and tapered his form to perfection with the 2 weeks of relative rest.
As we look forward to the race, here are my star ratings for the top contenders:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Evenepoel, Van Aert, Van der Poel
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Alaphilippe, Laporte, Madouas, Pedersen
⭐️⭐️ Asgreen, Cosnefroy, Powless, Trentin, Van Baarle
⭐️ Bettiol, Hirschi, Lutsenko, Schmid, Skjelmose, Wright
The demanding nature of this route gives the world's best rider a good chance to win. Pogačar is ready to shine and take revenge for the Tour. He possesses all the abilities required to win this race. The only disadvantage he has is his team.