Sam Willoughby leading into turn one at the Great Salt Lake Nationals, July 5, 2010.
With the UCI World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa just two weeks away, speculation is running rampant in the race community, and much of it is aimed specifically at Redline’s Sam Willoughby. The reason: if Willoughby wins the UCI World Championships, he will make UCI history, with a never-before-accomplished threepeat of titles. (In ’08 and ’09, Willoughby, won back-to-back Junior Elite titles. 2010 is his first year racing the Elite class.)
Throughout the last six months, Willoughby has shown that he is a contender to take on anyone and everyone in the class, with podium finishes left and right. Willoughby is currently ranked number two in points for the UCI Supercross Series (behind Maris Strombers), and he’s in the hot seat leading up to the Worlds. With the current Elite World Champion Donny Robinson currently out with an injury, Willoughby may be the only pro racing in the Elite Men’s class with something to defend. Of course, when it comes down to a main event, anyone on the gate could take it in one fell swoop. And that is where Free Agent’s Olympic Gold Medalist Maris Strombergs comes in.
Both Strombergs and Willoughby have grown to be two of the most consistent riders around, typically standing beside one another on the race podium. And it wouldn’t be a shocker for these two to end up side by side at the Worlds. Strombergs will be scoping out his last straight move as soon as practice begins, and Willoughby will be looking for the right spot to get around Strombergs if needed.
Keep it tuned here for more UCI World Championships news within the coming week, and look for the Worlds to be telecast live on Freecaster with the friendly voice of America’s own Pete Dylewski behind the mic.