No races today at the World Road Championships 2011, so it’s time to catch up with some old friends, the gossip and write up the Worlds Elite RR preview and fit in an interview – I have to justify my existence.

We’re about 20 K from the city of Copenhagen in Naerum, which is right on the course.

It takes two trains to get to central Copenhagen, but they run frequently and bang on time.

World Road Championships 2011
Copenhagen is a cracking place to visit.

Our meeting this morning was with Dane, Jimmy Hansen.

Jimmy is only 33 but has been retired for five years; he was a brilliant junior, winning UiV cup races – that’s the U23 Six Day circuit.

He turned pro for Saturn in the US at just 19, but was ‘raced to death’ and never really reached his potential.

He rode 25 six days – from Mexico to Grenoble – in his career but could have ridden many more; but once the motivation has gone, the legs won’t spin fast enough and it’s over.

Jimmy has a good job in retail now, two children and keeps in touch with what’s happening in the sport; but doesn’t come to the races anymore – some pros are like that.

When it’s over, it’s over.

Back to the ‘burbs and an interview with Joe Dombrowski?

Don’t say, ‘who?’

World Road Championships 2011
Joe Dombrowski.

He’s a young US rider who won a stage and was second on GC in the Val d’Aosta stage race in Italy.

Aosta doesn’t get much press in the UK but it’s a big deal in the world of U23’s – the big shop window for the agents and talent scouts.

Fabio Aru won it this year – he’ll be pro next year.

Dombrowski won the second last stage and if he’d beaten Aru in the final uphill time trial, he’d have won the race.

As it was, Aru won the test – ‘smoked it’ as Joe would have it – and the GC.

Dombrowski also rode the Tour de l’Avenir but that didn’t go so well – maybe due to his exertions in the Aosta.

l’Avenir was a big deal when I was a boy, the big amateur stars who contested it – Mortensen, Ovion, Zoetemelk and Den Hertog were almost as well known as the pros of the day.

Back on the train to the camper park and write up the preview and interview.

The Worlds, here’s how I see it:

  • FIVE stars: Hushovd and Gilbert.
  • FOUR stars: Freire, Boasson Hagen.
  • THREE stars: Cavendish, Bennati, Visconti, Sagan.
  • TWO stars: Degenkolb, Kittel, Greipel, Farrar.
  • ONE star: Matt Goss.
World Road Championships 2011
It’s easy to become a Thor fan.

But word is on Sporza that Peiper has ‘bigged up’ Cav’s chances; he says that after the Vuelta, Cav trained super hard with David Miller, and after the stages in the Tour of Britain, he trained up to an additional 100km – Peiper believes in Cav’s chances.

We’ll know on Sunday – U23 tomorrow, talk to you after that.