British Cycling has announced its long list of riders for the 2012 UCI Road World Championships which will be held from 15-23 September in Limburg, the Netherlands.
Defending world champion Mark Cavendish is in the 14-man squad for the elite men's road race, although as he himself has acknowledged the course, which features the tough climb of the Cauberg in the finale - a 1.5km ascent at an average gradient of 12 per cent, followed by a 1.7km run to the line - means there is no prospect of him successfully defending his title.
Six of the seven riders who helped Cavendish clinch that rainbow jersey in Copenhagen 12 months ago are in the squad, the exception being the man who acted as road captain that day, David Millar.
The standout name on the list is that of Endura Racing's Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, who has had a terrific 2012 including early season wins in the Tour Méditerranéen and Tour du Haut Var and who returned to form after breaking his collarbone in May, with another overall win in July's Tour Alsace. Andy Fenn, third in the men's under-23 race last year, is named in the senior squad.
Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins, who won Olympic gold in the time trial last month, is named in the road race team, but not the time trial, in which he won world championship silver behind Germany's Tony Martin 12 months ago.
Instead, the three men named, of whom two will ride, are Olympic time trial bronze medallist Chris Froome, currently eperiencing a torrid time at the Vuelta, Geraint Thomas, back on the road after helping Great Britain successfully defend its Olympic team pursuit title, and Alex Dowsett, who retained his national time trial championship title yesterday.
Olympic road race silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead, former world champion Nicole Cooke and current British champion Sharon Laws are named in a 12-strong squad for the elite women's road race, of whom three will ride, and also on that long list are all three of the riders who secured the world championship and Olympic double this year in the individual pursuit - Joanna Rowsell, Dani King and Laura Trott.
Wendy Houvenaghel, the fourth member of the team pursuit squad but who did not get the chance to ride at London last month, is one of four women named for the time trial, having retained her national title yesterday, beating Julia Shaw, also named, for the second year running. Also on the long list are former world champion in the discipline, Emma Pooley, who took bronze last year, and Laws.
Cavendish, of course, wasn't the only British rider to return from Copenhagen with a rainbow jersey - Lucy Garner won the juior women's title and will be defending that in Limburg.
The long list junior men's team, meanwhile, includes Germain Burton, aged 17, who has already amassed a series of prestigious wins in domestic hill climb events and is likely to relish that final climb should he make the final selection.
British Cycling Performance Director Dave Brailsford commented: “Once again we find ourselves in a very fortunate position of having a strong pool of riders across the board from which we can select the final team nearer the time.
"Brad [Wiggins] has opted out of riding the Time Trial at the Worlds; this year’s focus for him has been fully on the Tour de France and the Olympics, so to expect him to hold form going into the Worlds is a big ask.”
Elite Men – Road Race (9 to start)
Elite Men – Time Trial (2 to start)
Elite Women – Road Race (7 to start)
Elite Women – Time Trial (2 to start)
U23 Men – Road Race (3 to start)
U23 Men – Time Trial (2 to start)
Junior Men – Road Race (6 to start)
Tao Geoghegan Hart
Junior Men – Time Trial (2 to start)
Tao Geoghegan Hart
Junior Women – Road Race (5 to start)
Junior Women – Time Trial (2 to start)
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.