OPINION: With all three Grand Tours done and dusted, attention now turns to Bergen, Norway, for the Road Cycling World Champs. The week-long event gets underway early Monday morning (NZT), with New Zealand sending an 11-strong team to battle it out against the best riders across the globe.
Men's Team Time Trial: Jack Bauer (Quick-Step Floors)
The versatile Takaka rider is part of the defending champion Belgium outfit, who are gunning for their fourth win since 2012. Bauer is one of six riders in the team, although this year they're without German time trial star Tony Martin. The Kiwi is a strong competitor against the clock, and is the reigning New Zealand time trial champion. Quick-Step are one of the powerhouse time trial teams, and they're likely to be right in the podium mix alongside BMC, Team Sky and Orica-Scott.
Women's Individual Time Trial: Linda Villumsen
New Zealand's best chance of winning a medal, Villumsen is a force to be reckoned with in the time trial. She was the world champion in 2015, while she also won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Danish-born 32-year old is also in good form, winning the Ladies Criterium in the Tour of Denmark earlier this week.
She was meant to be joined by Jaime Nielsen, but she unfortunately withdrew due to illness.
Men's Individual Time Trial: Hamish Bond
With climbing star George Bennett also pulling out due to an ongoing virus, former rowing powerhouse Hamish Bond is flying the flag for New Zealand.
The double Olympic champion has completed a remarkable transition from the boat to the bike, and will be one to look out for as he flies around the unique course.
It's hard to know what to expect as it's the first time he will come up against such elite competition, but his willingness to push himself to the limit is likely to help him on the nasty 3.4km climb at the end. A must-watch.
Women's Road Race: Linda Villumsen, Georgia Williams
While Villumsen's speciality is the time-trial, she's also a very handy rider in the road race. She's finished in the Top 10 at the World Champs a couple of times before, and is likely to give it another good crack. Williams has been riding with Aussie outfit Orica-Scott on the Women's Pro Tour, and raced in her first Giro D'Italia this year.
The duo have no pressure on them and nothing to lose, so they might look at getting in the breakaway, or trying a few opportunistic moves.
Men's Road Race: Jack Bauer, Patrick Bevin, Dion Smith
This flexible three-pronged attack have all had busy seasons, competing in the Tour de France together, while Bevin and Smith both took part in the recent Tour of Britain. It's a strong team, and the likelihood of a sprint finish will suit them.
Bauer has spent the year as one of the key lead-out men for German Marcel Kittel, while Bevin and Smith have both had strong showings jostling for the finish line. Bauer is also a clever rider in the breakaway, and could be part of it if it's established for long enough.
With a smaller team, they'll definitely be up against, but they've got the pieces for a Top 10 finish on their day.
Full Schedule (NZ time):
- U23 Individual Time Trial: Monday 18 September at 11:05pm
- U23 Road Race: Friday 22 September at 11:15pm
- Men's Team Time Trial: Monday 18 September at 1:30am
- Men's Individual Time Trial: Wednesday 20 September at 11:00pm
- Men's Road Race: Sunday 24 September at 8:05pm
- Women's Individual Time Trial: Wednesday 20 September at 1:35am
- Women's Road Race: Saturday 23 September at 11:15pm
Henry Rounce is a sports producer and reporter at Newshub.