Taylor Phinney and Richie Porte stand an outside chance to win gold in the Road World Championships time trial today in Copenhagen. Behind the known favourites – Bradley Wiggins, Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin – the American and Australian are two strong contenders.

“It’s a good course for me,” said Phinney. “Nice and flat.”

The 21-year-old American won the Under 23 time trial title last year in Geelong, Australia, ahead of Australia’s Luke Durbridge. Durbridge won the Under 23 title this year, but Phinney, who now races for a top-level team, is obliged to fight with the elite men.

Wiggins starts at 15:37:30, Porte at 15:45:00 and Phinney at 15:46:30. Only four of the 65 starters follow Phinney: Mikhail Ignatiev (Russia), David Millar (Great Britain), Tony Martin (Germany) and four-time winner, Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland).

Phinney previewed the course over the last week. It starts in the city centre, near the town’s hall, runs north to the Charlottenlund park and back into Copenhagen. The men complete the 23.2-kilometre loop twice: 46.4 kilometres.

“We go through suburbia a little bit. It will be kind of a fun course, it will be thoroughly painful,” Phinney added. “I noticed there is a headwind coming back, which could hurt in the final part of the race. Rain could play a factor, it’s a 50-50 chance of rain.”

Today’s high is predicted to be 17°C

“A medal is a realistic aim,” Porte told Cycling Weekly. “If it goes as planned, I can be within reach of the podium.”

Australia’s Porte finished fourth last year behind winner, Swiss Cancellara. Millar won the silver medal and Martin took the bronze. The ride completed Porte’s amazing season debut, which included winning the time trial stage in the Tour of Romandy, wearing the leader’s jersey at the Giro d’Italia and finishing seventh overall.

This year, he finished second on several occasions and won the Tour of Denmark time trial. At the Tour de France’s time trial, he placed fifth.

“I have proven myself in the time trial this year,” Porte added. “It’s been the highlight of my season.”

Porte helped Saxo Bank team-mate, Alberto Contador at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. Next year, he will switch to helping Wiggins and Chris Froome at Sky.

“It is the English philosophy, the mentality is much the same for an Australian,” said Porte. “I think I will fit in quite well.”

Porte said working with Bobby Julich at Saxo Bank last year helped him make his decision to join Sky. Since this year, Julich works as a coach with Sky.

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