Road World Championships 2013: Chris Froome to attack on hills

Road World Championships, Florence, Men's Road Race

  • Date: Sunday 29 September

Coverage: 1230-1445 on Red Button; 1415-1615 on BBC Two, with continuous coverage 0900-1615 online and on selected Connected TVs. 5 live sports extra commentary from 1400; live text commentary online

Tour de France winner Chris Froome says his best chance of winning Sunday's road race at the World Championships in Italy is to go for a solo victory.

The 272km (169.2mile) race finishes with 10 16km circuits of Florence which take in a couple of climbs on each lap.

Briton Froome, who is not known for his sprinting speed, knows he needs to distance his rivals before the finish.

"If I am to win, I'm going to have to try and go clear on possibly the last couple of laps," he said.

The 28-year-old is aiming to become the third British winner of the race - after Tommy Simpson and Mark Cavendish - and the first man to win the Tour de France and world title in the same year since America's Greg Lemond in 1989.

He will be helped by seven British team-mates, including Sir Bradley Wiggins, who won the silver medal in the time trial on Wednesday, 2011 winner Cavendish and Olympic track champion Geraint Thomas.

Thomas told BBC Sport he expects to be one of the key helpers early on in the race while Froome hopes Wiggins will be influential in the latter stages.

"I'm expecting Brad to be there in the last few laps in Sunday," Froome said.

Analysis

"Brad is going to enjoy the job of working, the pressure is off him.

"The job he is going to have to do in my opinion, because they don't share the tactics, could see him in the hunt himself, because for Chris Froome, if there's a bunch coming in together, there's a good chance he could lose the sprint so he has to arrive on his own.

"The team said they're working for him so that tells you they've got to make it a really hard race.

"There's a lot of riders in there - Rodriguez, Valverde, Sagan - who can get over these short climbs - so if they're there at the finish, the British team has lost.

"Therefore, they've got to make it super hard not just on the last lap, but five or six laps out they're going to have to start going at it to try and break it down so that the real climbers are the only ones left.

"I think it's going to be a brilliant race to watch."

"He's definitely going to be one of the key guys towards the end of the race. It would definitely be great if he could help me towards the final stages."

Tactics will play a huge part in a race which is expected to be one of the most open in recent years and Froome knows that winning a one-day race has an element of good fortune attached to it.

"Given that it is a one-day race, it's quite a gamble - it is a bit of a long shot to go for the win there and anyone who wins will need a little bit of luck in their favour.

"Even if it does come to a sprint, it's very much still about who's got legs. You can be explosive and fast but if you don't have the legs it's not going to help you any more."

The two hills on each circuit - the 4.3km ascent to Fiesole and the 600m climb of Via Salviati, which has an average gradient of 10% but has sections at 16% - are not particularly taxing in their own right but when tackled 10 times, are expected to split the peloton.

Froome has said he will be "trying to make it the hardest race possible" in an effort to eliminate the pure sprinters and puncheurs - riders who can get over small climbs and sprint - such as Belgium's defending champion Philippe Gilbert.

The Italians are also planning on riding aggressively and their team coach Paolo Bettini said: "Rather than chase all day, we want to be chased. We won't hold back.

"The circuit is fast - they'll do the Fiesole climb at 30kmh (18.1mph) and it'll be very hard when the racing is hard. There's very little time to recover or organise a chase because there are two climbs per lap."

Bettini expects Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali to be in with a chance of winning.

"He's unusual as a rider," said the two-time world champion. "He can win Grand Tours but can also blow one-day races apart and win. He can do something on Sunday."

The intention to make it a climber's race could also play into the hands of Spanish trio Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde, Colombian duo Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Uran and Irish pair Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche, who are all comfortable on ascents.

However, as well as Gilbert, Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara and Slovakia's Peter Sagan could find the circuit to their liking.

Gilbert has won numerous one-day classics, which have a similar terrain to the Worlds course, but he had endured a testing season in the rainbow jersey before finally recording his first win of 2013 by taking stage 12 of the Vuelta a Espana earlier this month.

Cancellara has been in excellent form throughout the year, winning the Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders one-day races in the spring, and the 32-year-old held his form through the summer before winning the time trial at the Vuelta and bronze in the world time trial earlier this week.

Sagan is regarded as one of the sport's brightest prospects and has proved throughout the year he can keep pace with the climbers and also has the ability to beat sprinters on the flat.

The 23-year-old, who has won 21 races in 2013, including the one-day sprinters' classic Gent-Wevelgem, and finished second to Cancellara at the Tour of Flanders believes he is in good shape.

"I feel ready," he said. "This is the best I've ever felt for the World Championships. Whatever happens, I know I've done everything I can to be ready."