Road World Championships 2021 - Bradley Wiggins tips Wout Van Aert to take home road race world title in Flanders
Van Aert is a hot favourite on home roads and supported by a strong Belgian team. The multi-faceted star secured four stage wins on his way to general classification victory at the Tour of Britain, continuing a remarkable year that has also included three contrasting Tour de France stage victories and an Olympic silver medal.
out Van Aert of Team Jumbo - Visma celebrates winning ahead of Mark Cavendish of United Kingdom and Team Deceuninck - Quick-Step, André Greipel of Germany and Team Israel Start-Up Nation and Ethan Hayter of United Kingdom at the Tour of Britain
Sir Bradley Wiggins has tipped home favourite Wout Van Aert to take men's road race victory at the 2021 Road World Championships.
The Belgian is among the leading contenders for victory in Flanders having continued a remarkable year with overall victory at the Tour of Britain.
Wiggins has joined those predicting the multi-faceted star will better the silver medal he won in Imola in the road race a year ago on home roads on Sunday 26 September, suggesting it is "meant to be".
"He made history this year by winning incredibly a mountain stage at the Tour de France which took in the historical climb of the Mont Ventoux, a spectacular time trial win on the penultimate day and a very impressive sprint stage in Paris on the Champs-Élysées to round off a truly remarkable Tour de France achievement.
"For me it almost feels like it’s meant to be – a win for Wout Van Aert in Flanders as the Belgian champion.
Belgium will host the UCI Road World Championships for a tenth time, though the event has not been held in the northern European country since 2002.
The nation is the most successful in men's road races at the event - 26 times a Belgian rider has stood on the top step of the podium having taken victory.
And held on a tough course in the cycling heartland of Flanders, with a start in Antwerp and finish in Leuven, Wiggins cannot imagine a better location for what could be a thrilling world championships.
“For me Flanders is the capital of cycling, steeped in nostalgia, historical race moments and home to some iconic names of the sport of the last 100 years," explained Wiggins.
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"A Flanders World Championships will guarantee amazing fans along the road, cobblestones, wind, the chance of rain and plenty of beer.
"Me personally, I can’t think of a better place to have a World Championship and it will guarantee to go down as one of the greatest World Championships due to its location.”
The men's road race course is 268.3 kilometres long and will feature more than 2,500 metres of climbing.
Having also taken silver in the road race behind Ecuador's Richard Carapaz at Tokyo 2020, Van Aert will be keen to go one better and secure his first road race world title.
He is already a three-time cyclo-cross world champion and could duel with long-time rival both on and off the road, Mathieu van der Poel.
The Dutchman returned to racing with victory at the Antwerp Port Epic and is expected to compete in Flanders.
He shapes as another leading contender, along with other leading classicists like Julian Alaphilippe (France).
“You need a rider capable of winning a one-day race that takes place once a year over a distance of 250km plus with in excess of 200 riders all trying to do the same thing," said Wiggins of the unique qualities required to win a road race at a world championships.
"Once you’ve got that you need a team strong enough to support that rider.
"Nations qualify places throughout the season based on their world ranking and from that qualification process, some teams can qualify up to nine riders on the start sheet.”
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Van Aert will be supported by a strong Belgian team, including Remco Evenepoel.