The 2017 UCI World Championships are underway in Bergen, Norway. Tomorrow, I delve into the crown jewel of the event, the men’s road race. Today, the individual time trial (ITT) goes under the microscope.
This year’s ITT (Wednesday, September 20th) is two-laps of a 31 km (19.26 mi) course with a punchy final climb. It’s an interesting and somewhat controversial choice by the race organizers.
This isn’t a good route for the pure time trialists. Those that excel at holding a constant power over a long period of time will have to adapt to the steep gradients and the short distance. This puts the defending champion, Tony Martin (placed at a dismal 30/1 odds), at a huge disadvantage. It also hinders the chances of Australian time trial champion Rohan Dennis (6/1), though he is still among the favorites.
Instead, the route favors those who are also adept climbers. That leaves us with two big names — Tom Dumoulin (8/13) and Chris Froome (4/1). Further increasing their advantage, the UCI is allowing riders to swap out their time-trial bike for a road bike before the final climb.
Both Dumoulin and Froome have had an amazing year. Dumoulin landed a shock win at the Giro d’Italia which included a stage win at the first time trial, while Froome picked up the Tour de France/Vuelta a Espana double, which included a stage win at the Vuelta time trial.
The top sportsbooks have one clear favorite — Dumoulin — and two serious contenders — Froome and Dennis. For bettors, there are big potential wins from the outside contenders, like newcomer Primoz Roglic (18/1), defending champ Tony Martin (30/1), and Polish tough guy Maciej Bodnar (32/1). But their odds are slim for a reason.
2017 UCI Individual Time Trial World Championships: The Favorites
Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands): 8/13
Chris Froome (Great Britain): 4/1
Rohan Dennis (Australia): 6/1
Primoz Roglic (Slovenia): 18/1
Tony Martin (Germany): 30/1
Maciej Bodnar (Poland): 32/1
Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands): 33/1
Bob Jungels (Luxembourg): 125/1
2017 UCI Individual Time Trial World Championships: Betting Advice
Unlike the road race, the individual time trial is fairly predictable. There are far fewer variables and less can go wrong over 19 miles compared to 172. Time trialists generally have a fixed game-plan and stick to it. No need to factor in breakaways, team support, and general race dynamics.
For this reason, it’s a pretty good idea to stick to the two favorites — Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome. Dumoulin already demonstrated his form at the team time trial on Sunday (September 17th) when he led Sunweb to victory. Froome, on the other hand, peaked for the Tour/Vuelta double and has downplayed his chances at the World Championship.
The technical route, short distance, and demanding climbs will rule out the more specialized time trialists, so Froome and Dumoulin will be tough to beat. There’s a lot to be made from Froome (4/1), but he may not have much left after giving his all over two Grand Tours. Meanwhile, we know for a fact that Dumoulin (8/13) is currently in winning form and almost perfectly suited to the course. The Dutchman won’t net you a big payday, but he’s the safest bet and the best value.