CYCLING coach Rod Ellingworth is hoping for one of the biggest moments of his career this weekend at the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen.
British sprinter Mark Cavendish is coached by former Witham Wheelers member Rod in his role at Team GB, and is one of the favourites to win Sunday’s 266km road race.
If all goes according to plan he will be led to the finish line by what Rod says is the best British team ever.
On Tuesday Bradley Wiggins, also coached by Rod for both Team GB and Sky Procycling, claimed the silver medal in the men’s elite time trial. David Millar came in seventh.
Now final preparations are taking place for Sunday’s road race, with the team making a reconnaissance of the course yesterday (Thursday).
Rod was forced to quickly rethink Cavendish’s training programme after he dropped out of the three-week Vuelta a Espana in the first week after struggling to cope with the heat in the south of Spain.
The new schedule began with training sessions alongside GB team-mate Millar in Girona, and adding him as a last-minute entry to the Tour of Britain.
Rod said: “Mark was riding an extra 60 or 70 kilometres after each stage of the Tour of Britain just to top up the work that he would have got in the Vuelta.
“If Britain is ever going to win the World Championship, this is possibly it.
“We’ve come with the strongest British team we’ve ever had.
“Mark’s in the best form of his life, but if he hasn’t got team-mates he’s never going to win.”
This is the ninth World Championships that Rod has attended as a coach.
He said: “In road racing you’re constantly moving, but at the Worlds you’re sat in one place and just waiting.
“My job is near enough done – when they get to the start line that’s it. We’ll be behind them in the car and talking to them, but in terms of their form and condition, they are what they are.”
l The men’s elite road race starts at 9am UK time on Sunday.