The 2018 UCI Road World Championships will be held between the 22nd and the 30th of September in Innsbruck, Austria. This week-long event will grant world titles to male and female cyclists in both a time trial and a road race. Many riders will be competing, but there are only a few who stand out as serious contenders. The Prologue predicts that the following female cyclists will bring home the rainbow jerseys.

The time trial

Of course we’re hoping that Tom Dumoulin will bring home a men’s world title for The Netherlands, but in the women’s race we can quite confidently predict a Dutch podium sweep. Anna van der Breggen, Ellen van Dijk, Annemiek van Vleuten and Lucinda Brand are all Dutch, all excellent racers, and any one of them could win. The course itself is not that challenging, which tips the scales in favour of Ellen van Dijk. She can set the bar high and then sprint like no other. Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten are stronger in the climbs and would dominate on course with more elevation.

In addition to the Dutch, there are two outsiders to keep your eye on: Trixi Worrack and Chloe Dygert. Worrack took third in the last European championship, just a minute behind the winner Ellen van Dijk. Chloe Dygert has had a great year racing and might surprise everyone by securing a win.

The road race

The Dutch ladies also have a very decent shot at the rainbow jersey in the road race. It’s going to be a tight competition between Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten, as either could win. The pretty challenging course is a great fit for both their riding styles.

Whenever they compete against each other it’s thrilling, as we saw this year at La Course. Van Vleuten was able to overtake Van der Breggen in an exciting neck-to-neck sprint at the end. To call that race epic hardly gives it justice.

All eyes will be on these two women. As a result, a third Dutch woman could swoop in and take a win, which happened last year with Chantal Blaak. Other strong contenders are Amanda Spratt, Ashleigh Moolman and Elisa Longo Borghini. This year Amanda Spratt from Australia was second in the Liège-Bastogne-Liège; South African Ashleigh Moolman was second in the Giro Rossa; and last but not least the Italian Elisa Longo Borghini has continued to have strong performances in multiple events as well. We’ll just have to wait and see who dominates on the 29th.