Favorites And Underdogs - Women's 2020 World Championships Road Race

Worlds: Steep Climbs, Slick Tricky Descents

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The women’s 2020 racing season had only just begun before Covid-19 hit. Many of the riders had yet to race before being forced into quarantine with the rest of the pro peloton and the world. Now, after racing a short schedule -- Strade Bianche, La Course at the Tour de France and the Giro Rosa -- they face the Worlds road race.

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The women will face the same 28.8km circuit as the men, but going around five times for a total of 2800m of climbing in the 143km race. Unlike the men, the women should see sunshine on Saturday. Below are a few of our favorites for the rainbow stripes.

Favorites

Netherlands

The Dutch powerhouse team is the strong favorite to win, with Marianne Vos, Anna van der Breggen, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, and defending champion, Annemiek van Vleuten lining up. Van Vleuten would have been an obvious choice to lead the team until her unfortunate crash at the Giro Rosa that forced her to abandon the race and her GC lead with a broken wrist. A little over a week later, after surgery and a fitted brace, she has been given the green light to race Saturday.

Van der Breggen is another strong contender on the team hoping to capitalize on its options. She opened the World Championships with her first rainbow jersey in the individual time trial after earning her first Giro Rosa title last week.

The third option for the Dutch is none other than the three-time champion Marianne Vos. The hilly course and flat finish lend to her strengths. She had only one race under her belt in 2020 prior to the lockdown. She returned to her winning ways at the Giro Rosa, taking three stages and the points classification.

Elizabeth Deignan

Deignan has been a vocal advocate for athletic moms worldwide, since becoming a mother herself in 2018. She celebrated her first major win since then at La Course in Nice, France, out-sprinting Marianne Vos to the line. Deignan was one of several riders since the return to racing to challenge the dominance of Annamiek van Vleuten. She won the one-day GP de Plouay prior to La Course in the rain.

2020 may be one of Deignan’s last chances to fight for the rainbow jersey. She won in 2015, but has publically shared her desire to retire from competition following the 2021 Summer Olympics. Great Britain has brought a six-woman squad, with Elizabeth Banks and Hannah Barnes to back her.

Coryn Rivera

Rivera’s win at Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2017 catapulted her to the world stage in her first season racing on the Women’s WorldTour. The American sprinter has proven she can go the distance and survive over punchy climbs. Should the race come down to a field sprint, Rivera will surely be in the mix. Like many of her peers, she has few racing days in her legs since the shutdown. She returned to racing at Strade Bianche and had three top-five stage finishes at the Giro Rosa.

Losing Chloe Dygert, who crashed in the TT, for Saturday’s race was a major blow to USA Cycling. A now six-rider squad including Tayler Wiles, Laura Stephens, and Ruth Winder will also strengthen the team.

Elisa Longo Borghini

It has been nearly a decade since Italy saw an Italian woman in the rainbow jersey. Borghini is one of the favorites with the home advantage, after finishing second at the European Continental Championships, two stage wins and a podium finish at the Giro Rosa this season. She was a key component for her Trek-Segafredo teammate, Lizzie Deignan, in both her wins this season including at La Course. One-day races are her specialty as she hopes the home crowd will cheer her on to victory after her third at the 2012 Worlds.

Katarzyna Niewiadoma

Niewiadoma has shown time and time again her strengths in both one-day races and in stage racing. The Polish climber won Amstel Gold last season, and is arriving in Imola after a strong second place finish on GC at the Giro Rosa. Her short stint in the pink jersey last week and podium finish, has boosted her confidence in aiming for future victories. Should her form continue into Worlds, landing her in the jersey or on the podium, it will be a first in history for Poland.

Fernando Gaviria Out Of Giro After Positive Covid-19 Test

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Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria has tested positive for Covid-19 at the Giro d'Italia and has withdrawn from the race, his UAE Emirates team announced on Tuesday.

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Almeida Survives Pink Jersey Scare As Geoghegan Hart Wins Giro Stage 15

Stage 15 winner

Portuguese pink jersey wearer Joao Almeida survived a stiff challenge to his overall race lead from Dutch title rival Wilco Kelderman who closed in on the leader after Sunday's Giro d'Italia 15th stage.

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Van der Poel Follows Father in Flanders, Alaphilippe Crashes Into Motorbike

van der Poel Tour of Flanders

Mathieu van der Poel took the Tour of Flanders honors on Sunday for his first win in one of cycling's so-called Monuments marked by world champion Julian Alaphilippe's heavy fall after colliding with a motorbike.

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Ganna Tops Time Trials In Stage 14 of Giro d'Italia

Replay: Giro d'Italia Stage 14

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Italy's world time-trial champion Filippo Ganna continued his sparkling form on Saturday by winning the 14th stage of the Giro d'Italia, while Joao Almeida tightened his grip on the leader's pink jersey.

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Italy's Diego Ulissi Wins Giro 13th Stage, Almeida Remains In Pink

Replay: Giro d'Italia Stage 13

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Italy's Diego Ulissi won the 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday as Joao Almeida retained the race leader's pink jersey ahead of a crucial time trial that the Portuguese rider admitted will be "difficult".

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Jhonatan Narvaez Wins Giro d'Italia 12th Stage, Almeida Stays In Pink

Replay: Giro d'Italia Stage 12

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Ecuador's Jhonatan Narvaez gave the Ineos team their third stage win in this year's Giro d'Italia, crossing the line alone on a wet stage 12 at Cesenatico on Thursday.

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Arnaud Demare Gets Fourth Win In Stage 11 At Giro d'Italia

Arnaud Demare 2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 11

Frenchman Arnaud Demare powered to his fourth victory in this year's Giro d'Italia, winning a frenetic stage 11 finish in the seaside town of Rimini on Wednesday.

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Sagan Goes It Alone To Win Giro 10th Stage

Peter Sagan 2020 Giro d'Italia Stage 10

Peter Sagan soloed to victory in the Giro d'Italia's 10th stage on Tuesday after two teams, Mitchelton and Jumbo-Visma, were forced to pull out before the stage because of positive COVID-19 tests.

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Kruijswijk, Matthews, And Mitchelton-Scott Team Abandon Giro d'Italia

Will The Giro Make It To Milan?

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Multiple riders and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 the UCI and RCS Sport announced in a joint press release. The tests were the first round, conducted during the rest day, in addition to the multiple safety measures the Giro d’Italia have had in place since the depart in Sicily. Mitchelton-Scott was the worst hit, with several staff members returning positive tests after their GC hopeful, Simon Yates, tested positive several days into the first week. The team released a statement soon after. 

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Portuguese Double As Guerreiro Wins Giro Ninth Stage

Ruben Guerreiro

Portugal's Ruben Guerreiro of Education First won Sunday's 208km ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia from San Salvo to Roccaraso with compatriot Joao Almeida holding the overall leader's pink jersey.

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