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"I think it’s good for classics riders like Cancellara. The big favourite for me is Simon Gerrans and possibly Navardauskas. You need to be a good finisseur.”

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25.09.2014 @ 16:29 Posted by Emil Axelgaard, Ponferrada

With a win in the GP Plouay and a strong showing in the Tour of Britain, Sylvain Chavanel has shown good form and he will be one of the French leaders for Sunday’s Worlds road race. The Frenchman explains that his team will have a two-pronged attack in a race where he regards Simon Gerrans as the big favourite and Ramunas Navarduaskas as a big outsider.

 

Last year Sylvain Chavanel was very tired at the end of a long season and decided to skip the World Championships. This year he feels much stronger and is back at the event as a key part of the French team.

 

As the national champion, he kicked his campaign of in yesterday’s time trial. Having passed the first time check in the third best time, he seemed to be in contention for a medal. However, the Frenchman gradually faded to 5th at the second check and 9th and the third check before he crossed the line as the 17th fastest rider.

 

“Today it was a very hard course,” he told CyclingQuotes at the finish. “I had good sensations but I can’t compete with the big specialists. I am 16th, 17th or 18th and it was a very long time trial. I prefer time trials of 20-30km.

 

“I had good sensations in the first part. I was in a good position at the first two time checks but the finale was very hard.”

 

Chavanel’s main goal in Ponferrada is the road race which is held on a course that suits him perfectly. The circuit contains two smaller climbs and a downhill run to a flat finish.

 

Chavanel showed good condition when he won the WorldTour classic GP Plouay and the Tour du Poitou-Charentes overall. Later he rode strongly in the Tour of Britain, finishing second in the final time trial.

 

“I have good sensations,” he said optimistically. “The circuit is perfect for me. No hard climbs. The maximum is 5-6%. That is perfect for me.”

 

Chavanel is not the sole leader on the French team. Nacer Bouhanni will be protected for the sprint but the rest of the team will ride aggressively, suiting Chavanel’s style of racing.

 

“For the French team, we have a possibility in the sprint with Bouhanni but every rider in the team has the chance to attack,” he said. “It’s possible that Chavanel attacks, that Barguil attacks. Every rider can attack. Bouhanni will just save himself for the sprint.”

 

Chavanel expects the race to be rather selective and has a clear idea about which riders may come to the fore. When asked to point to a favourite, he agrees with the bookmakers but has marked out a dangerous dark horse for an upset win.

 

“It could be a small group with 20-30 riders,” he said. “It is also possible that just one rider attacks. I think it’s good for classics riders like Cancellara. The big favourite for me is Simon Gerrans and possibly Navardauskas. You need to be a good finisseur.”

 

As opposed to this, Navardauskas himself played down expectations in a previous interview with CyclingQuotes.

 

Chavanel’s best result in a Worlds road race is his 29th place from the hilly course in Mendrisio in 2009.

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