International Cycling

Cavendish, Sagan ready for road race battle

2016-10-15 08:20
mark cavendish
Mark Cavendish (Getty Images)

Doha - For the first time since 2011 the road race world championship course in Doha on Sunday is best suited for sprinters, which inevitably means Britain's Mark Cavendish is considered a favourite.

The 2011 champion is coming back to form after a recent bout of illness and finished in sixth place at the Paris-Tours earlier this month.

Fresh from winning his first Olympic medal - silver in Omnium - and registering four wins at this year's Tour de France, Cavendish has also won before in Qatar.

He took first spot in the Tour of Qatar in February, the second time he has won in Doha, previously winning in 2013.

Sunday's race though could set up a fascinating encounter with one of the best cyclists of the year.

Cavendish is likely to face stiff competition for the famous rainbow jersey from defending champion Peter Sagan.

Last year he saw off the challenge of Australia's Michael Matthews to win gold and he has continued his good form throughout 2016.

The Slovakian won the points classification at the Tour de France for the fifth consecutive year and won the European Road Race championships last month.

On Thursday he posted a picture of himself heading out on a training ride and confidently tweeted that: "All is fine in Doha as I'm going on a training ride ahead of the world championship."

Other riders in contention include omnium gold medallist in Rio, Italy's Elia Viviani and France's specialist sprinter Nacer Bouhanni, a former winner of the French national road championships and known for his blistering finishes.

Compatriot Arnaud Demare could also be in with a shout of the title.

Sunday's event will be raced over a 257km long course stretching from Doha's Aspire Zone, a vast sporting complex in the west of Doha used in the past for training by international sporting sides such as Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and the Welsh rugby team.

The riders will then head north to the towns of Losail and Al Khor before completing seven laps of the "Pearl Qatar" where the race finishes.

Conditions are expected to be slightly cooler for Sunday's race than in previous days with forecasters predicting temperatures of around 33 degrees Celsius.

Read more on:    mark cavendish  |  cycling

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