Peter Sagan‘s chances for a record-breaking fourth gold medal are bleak, while the Dutch women are again set to dominate the world road cycling championships, live daily on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold this week.
Sagan, the Slovakian with a record-tying six Tour de France sprint titles, last year became the first man to win three straight world titles in the road race. But that merely matched the career golds record with four others, including the legendary Belgian Eddy Merckx.
Sagan is not favored to stand alone after Sunday’s event, the last on this week’s program in Innsbruck, Austria. The 160-mile course is a climber’s paradise. Though Sagan is strong on hills for a sprinter, this layout is expected to be too tall of a task.
Plus, Sagan has not won a Grand Tour stage since crashing on stage 17 of the Tour de France. He didn’t win a single stage of the recent Vuelta a España, his first Grand Tour without a victory since the 2015 Tour de France.
The world champs road race contenders include Grand Tour overall winners Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde.
The elite individual events begin with the time trials Tuesday (women) and Wednesday (men).
Dutch stars Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen went one-two in the women’s time trial last year, with van Vleuten coming back from her horrific Rio Olympic crash for her first rainbow jersey. A Dutch medal sweep is possible, though the U.S. boasts 2016 World champion Amber Neben (now 43 years old).
Another Dutch rider, Tom Dumoulin, eyes a repeat title in the men’s time trial in the absence of Tour de France winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.
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|Tuesday||4-6:40 a.m.||Men’s Junior Time Trial|
|8:30-10:50 a.m.||Women’s Elite Time Trial|
|Wednesday||8-11:10 a.m.||Men’s Elite Time Trial|
|Thursday||3-5:15 a.m.||Women’s Junior Road Race|
|8:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.||Men’s Junior Road Race|
|Friday||6-10:50 a.m.||Men’s U23 Road Race|
|Saturday||6-10:45 a.m.||Women’s Elite Road Race|
|Sunday||3:30-10:50 a.m.||Men’s Elite Road Race|