While the arrival of UCI Road Cycling World Championships in the cycling season traditionally turns the riders’ attention away from their trade teams towards their national squads, the Team Time Trial competition is the exception as it sees the pro teams pit against each other for the world title.

This year will be only the second running of the TTT discipline, having been introduced to the World Champs in this format in 2012. And like last year, the TTT will be the opening event of the week-long championships, allowing the riders time to return to their national squads and prepare for the Individual Time Trial and Road Race events.

Here, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about the upcoming world TTT event, including when, where, who’s racing and how it all works.

Where and when

When:
Sunday, September 22, 2013

Women’s race: 11.00am BST

Men’s Race: 15.00pm BST

Where: Tuscany, Italy

Women’s race: Pistoia to Firenze

Men’s race: Montecatini Terme to Firenze

How it works

The TTT is a specialist discipline requiring significant and practice and teamwork to get right. Like an individual TT, the riders will need a combination of speed and endurance to succeed. However, unlike a regular TT, the riders will rely on each other to keep the pace high and will need astute tactical understanding between each other to triumph.

This is exactly why the UCI catered this event for the pro teams, as the busy season schedule doesn’t allow enough time for the national squads to hone and practice their TTT in order to compete at a sufficient level.

Effectively, the World’s TTT works in the same way as any other TTT throughout the cycling season. Here though, the teams can enter a maximum of six riders (normally nine in a Grand Tour) and can afford to lose only two riders before the finish, with the time taken as the fourth member of the team crosses the line.

The course

Unlike last year’s torturous test around the climbs of Limburg, the Tuscany courses are pan flat, save for one small lump towards the start of the men’s parcours.

The women will tackle a 42.9km long course, while the men will face a test of 57.2km. The biggest challenges on both courses are some technical corners from around 3km to go after they enter Florence for the finish, while the rest of the course remains relatively straight forward, so expect some high speeds.

The parcours for the Elite Men’s circuit

The parcours for the Elite Women’s circuit 

The contenders

It’s hard to look past last year’s victors for the men’s contest, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, especially when you consider their team consists of World Time Trial champion Tony Martin as well as French champion Sylvain Chavanel. But the likes of Garmin-Sharp, Astana, BMC and Sky all have a successful track record in the discipline and will certainly have something to say on the day.

Orica-GreenEdge are also a good choice for victory, with a bronze medal in the event last year and convincing victory at this year’s Tour de France TTT stage showing they have what it takes to compete with even the best teams in the discipline.

In the women’s event, Orica-AIS is a strong choice having taken silver last year and having World TT champion Judith Ardnt can’t hurt either.

TT World Champion Judith Arndt will be essential if Orica-AIS are to succeed

Road Race champion Marianne Vos will lead her Rabobank team into the competition, but they could be considered a wildcard for victory with other strong teams, including last year’s champions Team Specialized-Lululemon, ahead of them in the list of favourites.

There’s no rainbow jersey for the winning team in this competition, but each member will receive a medal as well as a trophy that will be presented to the team director.

Even better, the winners will get the opportunity to wear a barely-noticeable badge that signifies their victory on their skin suits for all TTT competitions in the forthcoming 2014 season, which must make it all worth it.

The Brits

There are quite a few Brits on the long lists for the professional squads, but you’ll have to keep a keen eye out for them with no national teams here. The closest you’ll get are Wiggle Honda and Team Sky, who, as the only British-based squads entered, will hear the national anthem played should they top the podium.

Sky and Wiggle Honda are the British representatives in the contest

As for riders, British National TT champion Alex
Dowsett has made the long list for Movistar, while David Millar and Steve
Cummings line-up for Garmin-Sharp and BMC respectively. Team Sky will certainly
field at least one British rider, as Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe all make the provisional eight-man squad.

Joanna Rowsell and Dani King fly the flag for Britain with Wiggle Honda, but the field contains a smattering of British women throughout with the likes of Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Trott featuring for Dolmans-Boels, while Katie Colclough and Sharon Laws have been selected for Specialized-Lululemon and Lotto-Belisol respectively. 18-year-old Lucy Garner has also made the long-list for Dutch team Argos-Shimano.

Live television coverage

There doesn’t seem to be any coverage for the TTT event in the UK, with usual cycling broadcasters Eurosport and ITV 4 both covering the final stage of the Tour of Britain. The BBC will show limited coverage of the TTTs on its red button and internet TV service.