Cancellara the danger man in world road race

Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:54am EDT
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By Julien Pretot

FLORENCE, Italy (Reuters) - Once again, Fabian Cancellara will start a one-day race with a big target on his back in Sunday's elite race at the world cycling championships.

Cancellara's sheer power, combined with his ability on tough, short climbs, make him the clear favorite for the 272.3-km trek from Lucca to Florence.

After 106.6 kilometers on the flat, the peloton will go around a 16.6-km circuit which includes the Fiesole climb (4.4 km with a gradient of 5.2 percent) and the Via Salviati (600 meters at 10.2 percent), where the pure sprinters will be eliminated.

The race will then turn into a duel between the climbers and riders such as Swiss Cancellara and Slovakian prodigy Peter Sagan, 23.

"We will be trying to make it the hardest race possible, to try to isolate the sprinters and make it more of a climber's race," said Tour de France champion Chris Froome, who is not at his best as the end of an exhausting season looms.

"I think Sagan and (defending champion Philippe) Gilbert (of Belgium) are the two to really look out for most. If they get into difficulty with the amount of climbing then I think it would be more of a climber's race but as long as they're there, then it's basically up to them.

"I'm not exactly very punchy or explosive when it comes to a bunch sprint or final kick, so I think if I am to win I'm going to have to try and go clear on possibly the last couple of laps."

Froome and Team GB, which also features Bradley Wiggins, should be helped in that task by other climbers' teams such as Spain and Colombia, who will work for Tour runner-up Nairo Quintana.   Continued...

Radioshack rider Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland cycles on a cobble-stoned section of the Paris-Roubaix cycling race during training in Haveluy near Valenciennes April 4, 2013. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol