The World Championships in Australia next year will suit sprinters, but only if they can handle the course's small climbs, according to Italian national team director Franco Ballerini.
"It will be a Worlds for the sprinters, but the consistent climbing, even if they are small climbs, will see only those riders in the best of form reach the finish line," said Ballerini in a press release.
Ballerini returned to Italy from a reconnaissance trip to Australia last week. He travelled with Dino Salvoldi (women's director), Marino Amadori and Andrea Colinelli (Under 23).
The 2010 Worlds is the first point-to-point course in the Championship's history. It will take the Elite men from Melbourne to Geelong, a distance of 85 kilometres. Once in Geelong, they will ride 11 15.9-kilometre circuits, each covering The Ridge climb (120m), for a total of 259.9 kilometres.
"Neither the first part of the course from Melbourne nor the climbs on the circuit are able to make a decisive selection in the group," continued Ballerini. "Whoever attacks on the climb knows that before the finish there are six kilometres of flat or light downhill for the others to chase back."
The last metres to the finish line are uphill after a right-hand turn away from Corio Bay.
"It's the surprise, a light climb 700 metres long. Only those that are in top form and still have the legs will be able to fight for the sprint win."
Ballerini has guided Italy's team to four wins since becoming national team director in 2001. The first of those wins was Mario Cipollini's sprint victory in Zolder, Belgium. However, the team failed to win on the sprinters' course in Madrid in 2005. Team leader Alessandro Petacchi lost contact with the leaders on the climb.
Petacchi (Lampre) and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) are possible team captains for the 2010 team.
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