#Imola2020: Seven NTT Pro Cycling riders to tackle World Championships

NTT Pro Cycling will have no less than seven of its riders compete at the 2020 UCI World Championships in Imola, Italy, starting on Friday 25 September.

On Friday, our contingent in the men’s individual time trial will be headlined by specialist in the event, Victor Campenaerts. The 28-year-old Belgian won the bronze medal in 2018 and will naturally be looking at higher honours in 2020. He will will face very stiff competition from the likes of Rohan Dennis, Filippo Ganna, Tom Dumoulin, Stefan Kung, Geraint Thomas as well as compatriot Wout van Aert, among others.

Campenaerts will be joined by Germany’s Max Walscheid who recently completed his debut Tour de France. The 26-year-old will also compete in Sunday’s road race.

The road race is just under 260km including around 5000m of elevation gain and is set to be a serious test for the field. Mads Pedersen (Denmark) won’t be on hand to defend his title but NTT Pro Cycling’s Michael Valgren will likely take a lead role in the Danish attempts to retain the jersey.

Nicholas Dlamini and Louis Meintjes will fly the flag for South Africa as it’s two entrants. The former continues to consolidate his racing season with his eye further down the road on a return to the Vuelta a Espana. Meanwhile for Meintjes it will be, rather surprisingly, his first senior World Championships appearance. In 2013 he finished second in the u23 race behind Matej Mohoric when the event was last in Italy and finished not far from this year’s edition in Firenze.

Also flying their country’s flag high will be Amanuel Ghebreighzabhier for Eritrea. He’ll line up alongside former teammates Natnael Berhane an Merhawi Kudus on a course that should suit the styles of all three.

Finally, the event promises to be an emotional one for 38-year-old Enrico Gasparotto. He will be proudly representing Switzerland in his first ever appearance at the World Championships and has been working hard in the build-up with his national team colleagues for the event.

Individual time trial – Friday 25 September

Max Walscheid – 14:37:30

Victor Campenaerts – 15:37:30

Men’s road race – Sunday 27 September

Start: 09:40

QUOTES

Louis Meintjes

I’m really looking forward to racing my first pro-elite World Championships. It’s always something special and something that I really want to do at least once in my life. This year looks like a good course so hopefully I can go there and have a good race.

I haven’t seen the course yet but in theory it should be good, lots of climbing! The goal for the day is to try and be happy with my ride as we’re not going there with a big team so odds are stacked a little bit against us but if I can finish the race and be in the front (group) then I’ll be really happy. My legs were pretty good in Tirreno so hopefully I feel the same and I just hope everything goes smoothly on the

Nicholas Dlamini

Representing South Africa at the World Championships has always been a special thing (for me). This year’ World’s is a particularly hard and challenging course and given the funny season that we’ve had makes things slightly tricky.

Louis and myself just have to do our best and see what we can get out of the day. Just finishing the race is already an achievement with 5000m of climbing so I imagine not a lot of people are going to finish. I hope I’m wrong but the course is really tough and hopefully we can pull of a good result and do South Africa proud. There will be a lot of challenges we will have to face.

For myself, I plan to race it from the breakaway, go up the road. Whenever the strong guys from the peloton decide to go they can come across to us and perhaps by that time the bunch would have been reduced and we can get something out of that as opposed to just get dropped from the peloton. I think that there will be some guys coming out of the Tour de France flying so I basically want to race it from the front.

I think to finish the race and perhaps aiming for a top 20 as a goal then I think that I’d be really happy with that given the course as I do know it favours the light climbers.

Victor Campenaerts

After Tirreno-Adriatico (where he finished second in the final stage time trial) I stayed on in Italy as where we finished is only 200km from Imola. I had a really good recovery after that race and I feel super, in good shape and the parcours (course) suits me really well.

So, I’m looking forward to rock and roll for 32km on Friday.

Max Walscheid

I’m really happy that I got selected for my first World Championships. I was a late call-up on Sunday evening after the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs Elysees; Nikias Arndt, who was supposed to start, has to take a break and so I was next in line.

I don’t feel any pressure as it’s my first World Championships, I think that the parcours (course) suits me and I will just go as fast as possible. I don’t have any crazy expectations for the race but it would be amazing if I could be in the top-20; it’s a very high profile starting lineup so we’ll just try to do my best race possible.

I think I’ve come well out of the Tour de France but obviously it’s not long ago so let’s hope that I’ve recovered, my legs are feeling good and I’m looking forward to it.

Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier

I am so very happy to be here to represent my country at the World Championships, together with my teammates. I didn’t do anything special in terms of preparations for World Championships but I’ve been performing quite well so I’m ready to give my all on Sunday.

I just want to thank everyone for the amazing support that we continue to receive and I hope to make you all proud in Imola.

Michael Valgren

I’m super-proud to be representing the Danish national team as it’s always a huge honour to put on the red and white jersey and to go and fight for your country.

It was obviously a hard Tour de France but hopefully I’ve recovered well and I hopefully have some good legs (on Sunday). The expectation for the race is that we have a strong team, I want to do well and hopefully I get a good feeling again after the Tour, with a view to the racing to come.

Enrico Gasparotto

First of all I’m super-excited to ride the World Championships and as it’s my first time riding this event so for me it’s something very special. It will be even more special because I’m with the Swiss national team, at the World’s, in Italy so I think the location can give added meaning (to me) for this particular event.

I’m really happy to ride for Switzerland as it’s where I live and my wife is also Swiss so in a way I have the opportunity to give something back to Switzerland because at this point the country is giving me a lot.

I’m so excited and just trying to stay balanced and not be too over enthusiastic. Once the team gets together it will be emotional but I know that as soon as we get on the bike we are solely focused on the race. I really hope to travel home on Sunday very happy with my performance and why shouldn’t it include a result.

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