GLASGOW: Remco Evenepoel is among the stars assembling for the world cycling championships in Scotland with 13 disciplines including road races, BMX, mountain biking and track racing on the menu from Thursday.
Over 200 of the eye-catching rainbow jerseys will be handed out over the 11 days of action to the various world champions.
The men’s world road race champion Evenepoel arrives in good shape after landing his third San Sebastian classic.
“It’s super-good for the head and for the motivation to start the second part of the season and to go to Glasgow next week,” he said after Saturday’s win.
The 23-year-old Belgian is unlikely to have to contend with swooping parrots in Scotland as he did at the 2022 championships in Wollongong. He forms part of a powerful Belgian team aided by Wout Van Aert.
Van Aert was last in action as ‘sherpa’ to Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard but left the race in the final week to attend the birth of his second child.
The epic 271km course from Edinburgh to Glasgow will weed out any bluffers and Evenepoel’s endurance will lend him an edge.
Another to consider is Mathieu van der Poel, who is targeting the men’s road race before switching to cyclo-cross.
Vingegaard himself is absent having chosen to race the Vuelta a Espana in late August, but Denmark can call upon 2019 champion Mads Pedersen, who won in a deluge in Yorkshire.
France’s Julian Alaphilippe, who won the 2020 and 2021 titles, is also there but somewhat struggling for form since a bad fall a year ago.
The elite women’s road race takes top billing on the closing day on Sunday week with 40-year-old Annemiek van Vleuten ending her career in the 154km race from the banks of Loch Lomond into downtown Glasgow.
Standing in her way are a new generation of cyclists including Lotte Kopecky, Marianne Voss and Demi Vollering, who succeeded Van Vleuten as winner of the women’s Tour de France in Pau last Sunday — this trio are all capable of their own tilt at the title in the fast-growing women’s sport.
The two elite time trials both run to Stirling and culminate with a sharp climb to the city’s landmark castle.
There are also events for the juniors and the under-23s for the men and women plus a mixed team time trial.
Three women and three men race a 20.15km road circuit in turn with the men first down the ramp in central Glasgow.
Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the British Isles, provides the backdrop for the mountain biking while the BMX events all take place in Glasgow.
The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome stages the track racing with British riders bent on garnering 2024 Paris Olympic Games spots by doing well here.
The velodrome will be one of the hubs of the entire carnival — built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games it is doted with a 250m Siberian timber track and is named after 11-time world champion Hoy, the greatest Scottish cyclist of all time.