By Jeff Jones
Welcome to Plouay, France, host of the 2000 World Road Championships. Plouay is situated in the Western part of France near the city of Lorient (120,000), however only 5,000 people inhabit the town of Plouay. It is best known for hosting the GP Ouest France, a big one day race in July-August and the town has a strong cycling identity.
Now in their 80th year, the World Championships are held over five days, incorporating five age and gender divisions, with two races (an individual time trial and a road race) per category. The action begins on Tuesday, October 10 with the Junior Women's and U23 Men's individual time trials, with the competitions running right through until October 15 with the grande finale, the Elite Men's road race.
The year 2000 has been bigger than average for the professional peloton, with the Olympic Games in Sydney being slotted into the usual full calendar. Scheduled in late September, it meant that many of the World's top riders had to choose between them and the World's as their main one-day focus of the year. In contrast to Atlanta in 1996, the Games drew a top quality field in both the men's and women's events, and the racing was on the whole of similar standard.
The proximity of the Games to the World Championships (less than two weeks between the time trials) meant that many riders will not be doing both, some by choice and some by accident. An example of the former is Leontien Van Moorsel who won three gold medals and one silver in Sydney, but will not be here in Plouay to defend her time trial title. Similarly, Anna Wilson who gained two silver medals last year has opted to stay at home and try and set a new hour record(!).
One rider who will be missed is Jan Ullrich, who fell during Paris-Tours on the weekend and required stitches for a split lip. He will require three complete rest days, meaning that he will have a less than optimum preparation for the time trial and he withdrew.
Irrespective of the absentees, the World Championships are the most prestigious one-day race on the calendar, and there are plenty of competitors keen to wear the rainbow jersey for a year. Cyclingnews.com will be bringing you all the action from this year's Championships via our correspondent Tim Maloney. Previews, reports, live coverage and photos and more are on the agenda for "Plouay 2000".
Gold Silver Bronze Total Russia 2 1 1 4 Poland 1 2 1 4 France 1 1 - 2 Ukraine 1 1 - 2 Belorussia 1 - - 1 Great Britain 1 - - 1 Latvia 1 - - 1 New Zealand 1 - - 1 USA 1 - - 1 Australia - 1 1 2 Italy - 1 1 2 Netherlands - 1 1 2 Germany - 1 - 1 Switzerland - 1 - 1 Canada - - 1 1 Hungary - - 1 1 Lithuania - - 1 1 Spain - - 1 1 Sweden - - 1 1