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)
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.