Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo) took a bittersweet victory on home roads at the Giro della Toscana Sunday and then spoke of his disappointment at missing out on selection for the world championships. Italian coach Paolo Bettini opted to exclude Bennati from his team after deciding that the Geelong course would not finish in a bunch sprint.
“My victory shows that I’m not a pure sprinter but a fast rouleur and that I’ve come back from the Vuelta in great form,” Bennati told Gazzetta dello Sport after the race. The Liquigas man failed to win a stage in Spain but had shown signs of improving form over the three weeks. “The only person who didn’t see that I was flying at the Vuelta was Bettini,” he added.
The Giro della Toscana finished in Bennati’s hometown of Arezzo and his supporters were out in force at the finish. “I really wanted to win,” Bennati said. “I wanted to make my fans happy and I wanted to show that it was an injustice to leave me at home.”
“I’m very disappointed not to be in Australia,” Bennati continued. “And I’d also say that the route of the Giro della Toscana had a lot in common with the Worlds course: I would have been able to make a contribution.”
Bennati also confessed that he wouldn’t be staying up to watch the race on television. “It will be night time in Italy,” he said. “I’ll sleep calmly and watch the replay.”
“I think Gilbert is the favourite,” Bennati added. “I think it will be hard for the Italians, maybe Visconti can do something.”
Bennati will ride two more races this season, Paris-Tours and the Giro del Piemonte, before moving to the new Luxembourg team in 2011