In three week’s time the best of the best in world cycling will descend on Harrogate to battle it out for the right to wear the rainbow bands in the respective disciplines until they are fought for again in Aigle-Martigny in September 2020.
The good news for me is……..I’ll be there! Following on from Alpecin Cycling’s event at the London stage of the Tour of Britain last year, this year they are hosting an event at the World Championships and I could not be happier that they’ve invited me! I’m hoping to catch the Mens U23, Women’s Elite and the Men’s Elite races as well as donning the Alpecin colours once more for a ride out around the Harrogate finishing circuit.
I was intrigued, therefore, when Zwift finally released their Harrogate World Champs course into the public domain today. A stomach complaint put paid to my chances of an outdoor ride so I decided to take a leisurely spin round the new course. It is completely what you would expect from a UK based course, hardly any flat sections you are either going up or down and nowhere in between. No lengthy, steep climbs, this is one for the puncheurs with a decent engine. There are long drags at 2-3% that don’t seem like much but will sap the energy of the riders as well as a couple of short, sharp, stinging lumps to get over
Out of the start/finish you turn right onto Otley Road and it becomes clear that this is not going to be an easy cafe ride
I can only imagine how a UK road surface will make these drags sap energy as the pros go round their seven circuits, any inclement weather and this will get ten times worse!
The Zwift course is well designed, looks great and is fun to ride.
The sprint to the finish line is another uphill drag so it won’t be a pure sprinter that wins the rainbow bands this year. Indeed, the corner that turns into the finish is an absolute brute. There’s not an easy run in to set yourself for the final sprint, this will all be about positioning. This could be the one downside for MVDP, this is top level cycling and the likes of Sagan, Alaphilippe and Gilbert will know immediately where they need to be. MVDP will have the backing of a strong Dutch team and I’m sure Mike T can help to put him in the right place.
The other thing I found out today is that I have a broken smart trainer. The cadence keeps dropping out or is ridiculously high and the watts definitely aren’t correct. Looks like that direct drive trainer is nearer in my future than originally expected!