Thursday marks the 54th running of the Coppa Sabatini in Peccioli (Toscana). Due to Paolo Bettini's recent tragic loss, the 2006 World Champion will not line up for the race. Instead, before the start there will be a moment of silence all the riders to reflect on the death of Bettini's brother. Bettini, winner of the 50th edition of the race, was scheduled to take to the start line before his bother, Sauro, died in a car accident Monday evening.
Several members of the 2006 Squadra Azzurra will be on the start line tomorrow; just confirmed is Bettini's close friend Luca Paolini (Liquigas), joined by Rinaldo Nocentini and Andrea Tonti(Acqua & Sapone), Raffaele Ferrara (Androni Giocattoli-3C Casalinghi) and time trialists Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and Marco Pinotti (Saunier Duval-Prodir). Last year's winner Alessandro Bertolini (Selle Italia-Serramenti Diquigiovanni) will line up with the number 1, joined by other big names Frank Vandenbroucke (Acqua & Sapone), Mirko Celestino (Milram) and Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital).