After many month of waiting, the largest sporting event of the year is finally upon us. In its much anticipated arrival the sporting legends are doing their last minute preparations before stepping to the line Saturday October 3rd for the first grueling test of athleticism, the uphill cycling time trial.
In a unique event where not only one strength will prevail, this diverse competition requires large array of skills, crossing the boundaries of sport by having the champion excel at not simply cycling, but also running and swimming. This qualifying feature has many of the worlds greats reeling from fear of disgrace.
3X World Time Trial Champion and Olympic Gold medalist Fabian Cancellara was expected to step up to the line in the inaugural event this coming Saturday, however, the challenging terrain has him second guessing himself.
"Sure, I've won the world championship title 3 times and beat the best in the world in Beijing, and don't get me wrong, coming off the World Championships last week, I feel like I am in the best shape of my life! But this is the big time! I just don't feel like I am ready to take on the UBCTC Fall Classic Series this year. Hopefully I can have a successful off season and build to be ready for the 2010 series. It would be asking too much of me to perform this early in my career at such a difficult event."
Other athletes, have also voiced their feelings towards the challenges of the Fall Classic Series. Marathon Champion and 21X world record holder Haile Gebrselassie after a disappointing world record attempt at the Berlin Marathon two weeks ago has concluded that;
"Although I still won with one of the fastest times in the world this year, I just don't think I could put up with another disappointment of a poor performance in the series (UBCTC Fall Classic), my spirits were shaken up, I just need more time."
Both sporting greats Michael Phelps and Cadel Evans were absent for questioning, however, they suggested that they may compete in select events, they are not yet ready for the grueling task of a full semester of competing.
Lance Armstong who never shies away was undecided on his participation in the 2009 race series, however, his twitter updates nailed the coffin shut on his appearance for 2009.
The absence of these excellent athletes has little impact on the competition in the 2009 race series. But the real question still remains, who will reign the victor in 9 weeks time.
There are many competitors with a fighting chance. The question is will be it be a specialist, such as Nathaniel Janzen (Flipper) who will accumulate his points in the pool, Matt Reeve who has made great strides by training exclusively on a fixed gear track bike to maximize his power output on the bike, or Winston Guo who promises to be consistent on the track with the help of his trusty GPS (Harmin the Garmin).
Or will it be an all rounder who will show the most promise; Andrew Wight, a dominant factor on the half ironman circuit, or Scott Sebastion Grayden Chris Scott who has show such great improvement over the summer that he expects to be peaking just in time for competition to start on Saturday.
Or will there be an upset from one of the girls, Lauren Sagadore who has finally decided to put some effort into her running and comes out to run training in order to hone her skills.
Or will a more creative approach be needed? Vincent Lavallee who will be absent from the first two events taking a risk by hedging his bets by putting in some last minute altitude training. Vincent was unreachable for comment due to his being in isolation somewhere in the Northern Canadian Rockies. Will this game plan benefit him? Will the added fitness be enough to make up the handicap of the first two events. That is yet to be seen.
Or will it be one of the rookies of the UBCTC that will claim the title?
All that is known is that this should be exciting, ESPN reports on twitter their excitement for the events to come.
All this to compete for the right to wear the Golden Cape and to one day hoist the Vincent Lavallee Cup above their head.