Right. I’m going to wrap this up now. It’s been a grim but rather epic day’s racing. “It couldn’t have been more Yorkshire if it tried,” writes David Hindle. Agreed. Thanks for your emails and tweets. Bye.
Here’s the top 10:
1 Mads Pedersen 6hr27sec
2 Matteo Trentin +0
3 Stefan Kung +2
4 Gianni Moscon +17
5 Peter Sagan +43
6 Michael Valgren Andersen +45
7 Alexander Kristoff +1min10sec
8 Greg van Avermaet +1min10sec
9 Gorka Izagirre Insausti +1min10sec
10 Rui Costa +1min10sec
Mads Pedersen has calmed down a bit now. This is what he had to say about winning the rainbow jersey:
Unbelievable! We didn’t expect this when we started this morning. At first [the aim] was to survive, survive, survive. When I saw the finish line I hoped the pain would be gone and I could do a good sprint. After six and half hours on the bike there is not much left. You have to be focused and stay in front. Don’t get any bad luck. It’s every rider’s dream to wear that jersey. For me to do it now is unbelievable.
Pedersen joins Amalie Dideriksen in becoming a Danish holder of the rainbow jersey. Dideriksen won in Doha in 2016. Trentin tried to force Pedersen to go to the front but when he went himself he had nothing to give and the younger Dane blasted past him on a slight uphill finish to win by 20 metres.
Mads Pedersen wins after a late burst ahead of Trentin!
What a finish! The Danish rider stays on Trentin’s wheel and with 200 metres to go he accelerates past the Italian and leaves him for dust. What a win for the 23-year-old. He jumps off his bike and burst into tears! Kung finishes third.
500m: Trentin is second, behind Pedersen, as they climb Parliament Street. As they come round the final corner Trentin moves first …
1km: Trentin lets Kung and Pedersen take the lead as they approach a tight corner near the finish. He’s wary of a late crash.
2km: Stefan Küng leads, with Pedersen and Trentin close behind. The Italian takes a sip from his bottle in anticipation of the finish. He’s looking very cool.
3km: Now, could a slip shake the leading three up? There are some tight turns coming into the finish as we saw with Gilbert earlier, who collided with a barrier.
3.6km: Sagan has gone for it off the front of the peloton but, as Interpol once sang, it’s way too late. One imagines he’s doing that to please the fans who have stood out in the rain for so many hours.
5km: Pedersen recovers and takes up the lead, with Stefan Küng and Matteo Trentin behind him. Trentin has barely done a shift at the front, the wily old soul.
6km: Out of the four remaining riders, Trentin still looks to be the strongest remaining. He’s lost Moscon, though, as they chug up Oak Beck. And then Pedersen starts to rock on his bike and is battling gamely to stay in contention. And what a ride by Kung. He’s grimacing like he’s being rubbed by sandpaper as he leads Trentin up the short climb.
8km: The front four are now 1min 14sec clear of the peloton, that has paid the price for not chasing when they had the chance to. Moscon is doing the hard yards on the front to help protect Trentin .
10km: David Hindle writes: “I remember our club 150 (miles) in 12 (hours). It was in broadly the same area as the road race today. It was Blackburn and District CTC. We were a very ‘funny’ CTC section because we had a number of very fast riders involved in time trialling and road racing. Anyway, the rule was 12 hours for everything, including tea stops. It was up to you how long you stopped for, although I think there was a minimum 2 stops, half hour each. Saddle bags and full mudguards were compulsory. It was a matter of pride whose saddle bag was heaviest, a function of the tool kit you were carrying and the quantity of sandwiches. But this is the thing. I was ‘bunking off’. I was supposed to be riding the North Lancs TTA 12 hour time trial over by Lancaster. But a few weeks before, the 100 mile had been cancelled on the day due to resurfacing work on the A6. So there was no chance of qualifying for the best all rounder (25, 50, 100 and 12 hour over a season). So I’d written it off. And it was raining stair rods. The whole morning. Really biblical. Like you see today! We headed to Aysgarth after Hawes, and I remember Ripon for tea, I think. I also remember a feeling of guilt about not doing the 12 hour, and wondering how the poor b@stards that did were liking it. We then headed back on the A59, into a headwind, but that dried us out, so it was actually good. This was probably in 1990. Now getting to the point! Just as today’s weather and location brings back memories for me, the constellation at the front is more or less what happened throughout the Tour of Britain this year. But will it turn out better for Matteo Trentin in today’s race after Van der Poel made him eternal second before? I’m sure Matteo would happily sacrifice the stage race if today goes right for him.” Phrophetic, David.
Van Der Poel has cracked!
12km: One of the race favourites, Mathieu van der Poel, has cracked and fallen away from the front. That came out of the blue. The Dutchman showed no signs of fatigue and then suddenly, BOOM, he went. That has given Trentin the chance he needed to strip off his rain cape and put his foot down. Surely it’s his race to lose now. He has Moscon in support. Pedersen and Kung are on their own.
14km: The bell rings to mark the last lap of the Harrogate Circuit. The front five of Trentin, Van Der Poel, Moscon, Pedersen and Küng hold a 48-second lead over the peloton, many of whom are grimacing as they chug along the streets of Harrogate behind them.
15km: There is concern about whether some of the riders at the front will be able to take their rain jackets off in time for the finish. I believe they are required to display their number as they cross the line. At the pace they are riding they may not be able to take them off safely. I believe Trentin and Van Der Poel still have theirs on.
19km: The trio of riders who attempted to launch a counter-attack have been absorbed by the slimmed down peloton. Meanwhile, Moscon cracked and dropped out of the leading group but then somehow found a second wind and tagged back on to the front five. His teammate, Trentin, could do with him sticking around. They lead by 46 seconds.
21km: The peloton has let the leading group get 53 seconds clear. They will have to work as hard as they can to haul them back in as they climb up Oak Beck. They have shed so many riders that the main group has only 20 or so riders remaining, many of them Belgian or French. I think this may be a Trentin v Van Der Poel race for the prize. Cue music:
25km: The five at the front have 35 seconds on the main field and 18 seconds over the counter-attack. Trentin is looking cool in that leading group, too. Could it be the Italian’s year? He’s had success in Britain before. In 2018 he won the European Road Race Championships in Glasgow. And he won stage two of the Tour of Britain just three weeks ago, also in Scotland.
27km: There are two laps of the Harrogate Circuit to go and Van Der Poel leads the five-strong leading group over the line 23 seconds clear of the peloton, which is being pulled along by Nils Politt. There is a trio of riders, Insausti, Betancur and Skujins, who are trying to bridge the gap to the front, but they’re flagging and trail by around 12 seconds. Their efforts may be doomed.
30km: Van Der Poel and Trentin have joined Moscon, Pedersen and Küng in a five-strong group who have a 20-second lead at the front. Will any of the French or Belgian riders make a move? The wind is picking up as the rain abates.
31km: We now have a small group of riders attempting to bridge the gap from the peloton to the leaders. It looks as though Van Der Poel and Trentin are among them. Could this be a winning move? They’re just nine seconds behind the leading trio, Moscon, Küng and Pedersen. Teunisson has been dropped at the front.
33km: With the gap extending to 27 seconds, Germany’s Nils Politt breaks off from the peloton and is followed by one of the Belgian riders (Dylan Teuns, I think, who won stage six of the Tour de France).
35km: “It’s a smart move from Italy and the Dutch team to put men in the break … forcing Belgium and France to chase now,” writes Philip Malcolm. “Greg Van Arvermaert and Van Der Poel watching each other really closely in the proton also.” One of those French riders, Alaphilippe, is still up at the front. Italy’s Trentin looks strong, too. There may well be just the 50 or so riders who finish today. The race began with 197. Yorkshire in September will do that to you.
38km: The Belgians are bossing the front of the peloton. It looks like they’re going to make a concerted effort to push on. As they leave Harrogate there’s an exposed part of the course where they may use the crosswind to open up a gap and chase down the leading four. Just behind them Sagan is lurking. He’s hidden away for most of the day. I’m sure he’ll have a say in this race at some point.
39km: With three laps of the Harrogate Circuit to go it looks like the rain is easing a little. The leading four riders have a 20-second lead but they are struggling to extend it. The quartet are in a discussion about what they do now. Pedersen wants to increase the pace but the other three look happy to stay at the same pace.
42km: Pedersen is doing all the work at the front as he tries to extend the gap over the peloton. But there a couple of riders behind who are trying to latch onto the leading duo. Mike Teunissen (who won the first stage of the 2019 Tour de France) is going to make it – and Italy’s Gianni Moscon is in hot pursuit too.
These riders have seen enough of the rain to last them a lifetime.
46km: Geraint Thomas has abandoned, while up at the front Lawson Craddock has cracked and Mads Pedersen has replaced him in the leading group having bridged the gap with a huge effort. The leaders still hold around 20 seconds over the peloton. The 23-year-old Dane Pedersen is a one-day specialist so the peloton will be wary of his move. The pace will kick on from hereonin, I imagine.
49km: There’s some movement in the peloton as the cross wind plays havoc and a small group peels off the front. Twenty seconds up the road, Küng and Craddock are still motoring but I expect they will last another 15 minutes at best. “How about Why Does It Always Rain On Me by Travis?” suggests Jon Preston. “I can imagine a few of the riders are churning that one round in their heads.”
51km: “I live in Belgium and their entire coverage for the last hour has been moaning about Gilbert stopping,” writes Philip Malcolm. “And an interview with Thor Hushovd in his wellies. Trentin is a good dark horse for today, by the way.” I imagine shoe shops in Harrogate have made a killing on wellies in the past week, Philip.
54km: Last year’s champion, Alejandro Valverde, has just spoken to Spanish media after abandoning. He had this to say:
It’s a world championship for mad men
Does Lawson Craddock have a look of Don Draper about him?
55km: There have been very few crashes considering the state of the weather. There has been some skilful riding out there. The leading duo cross the finish line 20 seconds ahead of the peloton, which has hared up Parliament Street. We have just three laps of the Harrogate Circuit to go.
56km: Nick Saberton adds to our bad-weather playlist. “Must include Riders On The Storm – surely!” Absolutely Nick. Keep them coming.
60km: Küng and Craddock, who sound like a bad Edinburgh festival comedy duo, are 28 seconds clear at the front. The peloton is being hauled along by the Dutch cyclist Mike Teunissen. Could it be a one-two for the Netherlands if a Teunissen – or more likely Mathieu Van der Poel – can follow Van Vleuten in winning the rainbow jersey?
64km: The plucky Craddock and Küng are around 22 seconds clear. If we’re having songs about rain can we shoehorn in Paranoid Android or is that not bad mood music rather than bad weather music? “Could I propose Carmel’s Storm,” asks Philament. You just have.
66km: A breakaway! Some excitement! Well, kind of. The USA’s Lawson Craddock has got his legs pumping and opened up a short lead of around 10 seconds. He’s joined by the Swiss rider Stefan Küng.
68km: The Italians are grouped together at the head of the peloton as they cross the line with five laps to go. Sagan is 15th and Mathieu Van der Poel is right up there as well. Geraint Thomas is still in the peloton, tucked in nicely towards the back.
70km: “Given we’re only guessing at what’s happening at the head of the course, how about a bad weather themed playlist?” suggests James Thomas. “Following from your (very good) Beatles track, I give you the Beta Band: Dry the Rain. Or Tupelow by Nick Cave.” I bloody love Dry The Rain, James. What a track.
72km: If Peter Sagan wins today he will be out there on his own in terms of world titles. He won the road race in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Nobody has won four world road race titles. He won’t be doing this on these sodden roads, though.
76km: Wahey! The aeroplane has refuelled and we have images again. Remi Cavana leads with 76km to go in a peloton that has shed riders considerably in the past hour. Sagan is still in close company but while we had no TV images it appears that the reigning champion Alejandro Valverde has abandoned. It’s not a good day to be a whippet on a bike. It’s way too cold. It’s becoming more apparent that the winner will likely have a bit of meat on their bones.
79km: I’m watching slow motion replayed images of rain falling. Oh Yorkshire! What have you done!
82km: The peloton has just crossed the line after a fourth lap of the Harrogate circuit. After four hours and 21 minutes of racing, Italy’s Giovanni Visconti is leading, followed by Pieter Weening of the Netherlands, Remi Cavagna of France, Denmark’s Magnus Cort Nielsen (a survivor from the breakaway) and Matteo Trentin, who is perhaps sensing that today could be his day. Mind you, Sagan is not far behind.
89km: There are only a handful of static cameras covering the race at the moment due to the wet weather so I’m unable to update you fully as to what’s going on up at the front. Rémi Cavagna was leading as they climbed Oak Beck, which is good news for Julian Alaphilippe’s chances. Sagan was lurking nearby as well as Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet. It’s absolutely filthy in Harrogate. Cyclists are strung out all over the place at the back.
Here’s a Beatles B Side for you. A B side. God, they were good.
91km: Gilbert looks to be close to tears as he gets his jacket on after abandoning. He looks in a lot of pain after that nasty crash on the turn to the first lap around Harrogate. It’s a sad scene but he gave it a go at least.
93km: One of the more interesting pizza deliveries I’ve seen:
95km: The peloton is stretched out as riders take the sharp corners carefully as they finish the third of nine laps of the Harrogate circuit. Peter Sagan is right up there near the front and well in contention. Matteo Trentin and Pascal Ackermann are ticking along nicely too. Britain’s Adam Yates and Ben Swift appear to have been dropped by the peloton and Gilbert’s crash earlier looks to have done for his chances. He’s chugging along way off the pace with Nairo Quintana, who seems to have run out of gas after setting the pace in the breakaway. Both look like they will abandon very shortly.
101km: Dan Martin, who led the race earlier, has abandoned. It looks like Remco Evenepoel will do the same shortly. He’s dropped off the back of the peloton after using up every ounce of energy to get Gilbert back in contention. Up at the front, his Belgian teammate Greg Van Avermaet has worked his way into second place. Julian Alaphilippe is up there too. There are still over two hours of racing to go so it wouldn’t be too clever to start the attacks just yet.
Adrian Riley writes: “It’s only fair to say that yesterday a bright and sunny north Yorkshire was full of bunting and roadside artworks to welcome the race, we spent the day painting a massive design based on a local legend on a hillside. Not sure it’ll still be there now.” I expect you’re right, Adrian. Your artwork has probably gone the same way as the TV pictures.
105km: Here’s video of the Philippe Gilbert crash. TV coverage is still limited but I believe Gilbert has got back into the peloton having been paced back by the 19-year-old Remco Evenepoel.
109km: A group of 197 riders started this race. There are now only 157 left as more and more sodden cyclists call it a day. Primoz Roglic is among them. He led the breakaway earlier, but now he’s been reeled in he’s decided to put his feet up and have a warm drink in the team truck. He’s grinning as he gets off his bike.
111km: Limited images have just now returned. The breakaway group appears to have been absorbed by the peloton and Evenepoel has almost hauled a groggy Gilbert – and a chasing group of riders – back to the throng ahead.
117km: There are extremely limited TV pictures from the official race broadcaster now so following this race has become a little bit tricky. The plane that beams images to a satellite has run out of fuel. Yorkshire weather in September eh? What I can tell you, though, is that Rohan Dennis has abandoned having done his job of hauling the peloton along at a fair rate of knots earlier on.
120km: While Gilbert grimaces behind Evenepoel in an attempt to get back to the peloton, the riders at the front are being reeled in. The gap is down to just 57 seconds.
Gilbert is involved in a heavy crash!
123km: Philipe Gilbert, one of the race favourites, has been caught up in a crash as the Belgian riders round the sharp corner before reaching what will be the finish line later on. Gilbert is hunched over as if he has hurt his chest. He gingerly gets back on his bike and is paced back towards the peloton by Evenepoel. That’s incredibly selfless riding. But Gilbert looks in considerable pain. I’m not sure he’ll last much longer.
125km: The breakaway’s lead is down to 1min46sec as they reach Harrogate. It consists of the same 11 men that battled out to the front some hours ago: Roglic, Polanc, Nielsen, Vakoc, Dillier, Bodnar, Kock, Houle, Howes, Quintana and Carapaz. They are cheered on to the circuit by a huge crowd in the grand old north Yorkshire town.
130km: And now the Rohan Dennis-powered peloton ups the tempo. It could be that they want to get back in touching distance by the time they get to the narrower streets of Harrogate. They’ve got the lead back down to 2min55sec. Dennis couldn’t do the double could he? Surely he’ll run out of gas at some point.
136km: They really could have done with pedalos to tackle some of the water today. The breakaway riders have done a fine job of keeping the pace up, despite the conditions. They’ve whizzed through Ripon on their way to Ripley. It won’t be long until they’re in Harrogate for nine laps of the final circuit, which will be tough and technical. I had hoped Ripley was the Yorkshire town namechecked in All The King’s Men by Wild Beasts, so I could link to it. It is in fact Shipley. But sod it, enjoy this fine little ditty anyway while the cyclists continue on their way to the home of Betty’s Tea Rooms.
141km: A few more riders have called it a day and abandoned. Among them are Paddy Bevin of New Zealand, Vasil Kiryienka, a veteran who is on the books of Team Ineos, and Hungary’s Márton Dina, who took a tumble earlier. He’s obviously done himself harm and decided to throw the towel in. I can’t say I can blame him.
148km: Rohan Dennis is still doing the lion’s share of work on the front of the peloton with his Australia teammates. He’s increased the pace again, cutting the breakaway’s lead to 3min55sec. Perhaps Dennis still full of joyful beans after defending his world time trial title last week. He credited that win to his sports psychologist.
152km: Here’s a video of the breakaway hitting a puddle that would be better tackled aboard a dinghy, earlier on Cray Hill.
156km: The race has settled down again with the lead group holding an advantage of around 4min30sec. The race so far has been punctuated with fine examples of how to put cycling jackets on in grim conditions. One annoyance, as a spectator, is that the jackets are not branded in national team colours, so it’s difficult to spy contenders in among the peloton. Apparently, national team jackets are not as good as their own.
172km: The 11-man breakaway have gone full throttle in the past 20 minutes. They’ve increased their lead over the peloton to 4min32sec. Nairo Quintana is still among them. It would be quite something if the Colombian stuck with it – he’s not known as a single-day racer.
177km: A number of riders have abandoned in the last few kilometres. None of them are among the race favourites, though. Perhaps they’re not strong swimmers.
182km: Among the breakaway riders, Silvan Dillier could be a good bet to stay the distance. He finished second at the 2018 Paris-Roubaix after battling away at the front for much of the day. The man who caught him was Peter Sagan. I don’t think I have seen a picture of him all day. We’ll see him at some point – doing a wheelie or some other ludicrous trick to impress the locals, no doubt. We’ve had a few bumps and scrapes at the back of the peloton. One rider crashed into a ditch. He was fine, thankfully. The standing water is becoming more of a problem as the race goes on.
188km: The pace at the front of the peloton has split it in two. The 11 riders in the breakaway remain intact, though, and they’re trying to increase the pace and extend their lead again. They’ve got it back up to two minutes – but at what cost?
193km: The peloton has managed to cut the breakaway’s lead from three minutes to 1min39sec in just that one climb. It might not be long before we have a bunched group again.
195km: Stewards are blowing whistles wildly as the peloton comes down the descent and rides through a massive puddle at Cray summit. I say puddle, but it’s a huge stretch of water, covering the width of the road that is big enough to go fishing in. The cyclists’ wheels go at least six inches deep into it as they steadily and safely make their way through it. It’s a Tolkien-style scene out there. All we need is a few orcs lining the road and we’re in Middle Earth.
198km: The water is flooding down the waterfalls at the side of the narrow, winding road up to the top of the Cray. A tip of the hat to the hardy folk who have lined the road to cheer on the 11-man breakaway. Behind them, the Rohan-Dennis-led peloton has got a move on and brought the gap back down to 2min16sec.
200km: The breakaway begin climbing the 7.7% Cray Hill with a 2min40sec lead over the peloton.
201km: I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again: it’s grim out there.
205km: The USA’s Alex Howes leads the breakaway over a quaint old stone bridge as he approaches the first climb. It’s one of a number of steep, sharp ascents that will be energy-sapping – perhaps even soul-sapping – in the filth out there. They have a very handy three-minute lead over the peloton.
209km: The teams have been warned that there is some flooding on the road up ahead as they approach the first climb of the day just past Kettlewell. The descent could be particularly wild.
212km: We’ve just had our first glimpse of Geraint Thomas. He looks very relaxed in the peloton, where riders seem to be having a much nicer time of it than the 11-man breakaway, who are extremely exposed and grimacing as they face down the rain and battle to hold their lead.
218km: Apparently, people have camped out overnight to get a good position to see today’s riders zip past for all of two minutes. They love the rain in Yorkshire. Love it! One of the race favourites, the Dutch rider Mathieu van der Poel, is the latest to suffer a puncture. He’s quick to pull over and get it changed before getting his legs whirring again to join the back of the peloton. The breakaway has a 2min37sec lead.
222km: The 11-man breakaway is 2min 30sec clear of the peloton. It consists of Roglic, Polanc, Nielsen, Vakoc, Dillier, Bodnar, Kock, Houle, Howes, Quintana and Carapaz. A vicious wind is really whipping across them as they battle on into the Dales. The peloton can better shield each other from these conditions. With over 200km to go the riders in the breakaway are going to have to be heroic to stay clear.
225km: The lead over the peloton has stretched to over two minutes. I’ve just seen a rider relieving himself at the side of the road. Surely he could have held it for longer than 30km. Too much coffee?
230km: Rohan Dennis and most of his Australian teammates are leading the peloton in cool and collected fashion about a minute and 25 seconds down the road from the leading group, which has now swollen to around 11 riders after Quintana’s chasing pack caught them. They’re snaking their way through Skipton, where standing water is causing them to slow up around the sharp corners.
234km: It looks like the race is finally taking shape. Polanc, Koch and Carapaz have a 10-second lead over a chasing group of around 10 riders, including Roglic, Quintana, Nielsen, Houle and Howes. Quintana looks completely in the zone and unfazed by the filthy weather as they approach Skipton. That chasing group have a minute on the peloton now too, and will no doubt join the leading trio.
238km: The peloton looks to be splitting in two as it rumbles along at a terrific pace. Jan Polanc had been out on his own with a short lead of around 11 seconds but, mercifully, he is joined by Jonas Koch and Richard Carapaz, who has pedigree having won the Giro D’Italia this year.
242km: The riders whizz through Ilkley. It’s a grand old town. I went there on holiday for a few days in February, when the weather was actually much nicer than it is today. There’s another attempt at a breakaway at the front, with Jan Polanc, Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda and Maciej Bodnar going hell for leather to try and keep the peloton at bay. I don’t think they will be successful, though.
246km: Philippe Gilbert has suffered a front wheel puncture and requires a wheel change. There have been a fair few riders who look to have had mechanical issues so far. Julian Alaphilippe appears to be unhappy with his bike, too. He’s involved in a conversation with a mechanic in his team car. It’s tough out there. With the pace at the front, Gilbert and Alaphilippe could do without this.
250km: The breakaway fails to get away and the riders are just about grouped together again as they race down an A-road in awful conditions. I say they’re grouped together but in fact they’re rather strung out thanks to the rapid pace at the front.
253km: Martin has been joined by Primoz Roglic and Tom Wirtgen in a group of around six riders. The peloton look like they will reel them back in shortly, though, as they whizz through Otley. Roglic reached a speed of 97km per hour as he came down a sharp descent just then. In the rain!
259km: The racing begins in earnest along undulating roads out near Otley. And Ireland’s Dan Martin has attacked immediately. He’s a vision in green as he attempts to put clear air between himself and the front of the peloton. He will have preferred the longer course, one assumes, given his strength on the short climbs that have been removed.
“The news is in. Some riders are not wearing national team branded, bad weather gear,” writes David Hindle. “This is even worse than a sock length infringement. Surely, the UCI must act? But this time, before the offenders reach the finishing circuit. It will certainly change the race outcome, but for the good of cycling, 40 plus riders must be DQ’d immediately!” You’re a strict man, David. In terms of knowing who is who out there, it may be very tricky when they get out into the Yorkshire Moors. The TV helicopters have been grounded by the wet weather. There’s going to be some harum-scarum riding out there, one imagines. Hopefully nothing quite as bad as this:
The riders are rolling out of Leeds in a 10km neutralised zone. It’s tipping it down and many of them a wrapped up like it’s December. The racing proper will start when they get to the city’s outskirts.
Good morning! Yorkshire in September was always going to be wet and wild for the Road Race World Championships and severe weather conditions have led to today’s route being shortened from 284.5km to 261km, with a shortcut from near Aysgarth to Leyburn being taken to avoid dangerous roads. It means the riders will now make nine circuits around Harrogate instead of seven which may mean there is a bigger group at the finish than was previously anticipated. Will the shorter race suit some riders more than others? Possibly.
Julian Alaphilippe, who lit up the Tour de France with his brave performances, is among them though the challenge from Belgium will be strong with Philippe Gilbert, Tim Wellens, Greg Van Avermaet and Remco Evenepoel likely to work well together in difficult conditions. And could we have a Dutch one-two in the women’s and men’s races? After Annemiek van Vleuten’s stunning solo win yesterday, could Mathieu van der Poel be inspired to do something similarly brilliant today? Ben Swift and Adam Yates are the most likely challengers from Britain. Geraint Thomas chose not to ride in the individual time-trial so he will offer solid support and may even have a go himself.
Italy could provide a winner today, too. Matteo Trentin is good in the rain. Alejandro Valverde is the defending champion, but conditions do not suit him. Having finished runner-up at the Vuelta, he may not have the legs today, despite the shortened route. You can never write off Pete Sagan, either. Expect him to do something to entertain the throngs of fans in Yorkshire today.