Filippo Pozzato will begin with a clean slate at Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, according to directeur sportif Luca Scinto. Pozzato joins the team after a turbulent spell at Katusha, but Scinto insisted that he is keen to focus on the future rather than dwell on the reasons behind the rider’s listless 2011 season.
“I don’t know and it doesn’t matter to me,” Scinto told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I want our relationship to begin with a blank sheet. Rehabilitating Pippo is good for us, for him and for all of Italian cycling.”
Track sessions at Montichiari formed part of Pozzato’s preparation last year, and Scinto believes that his rider should proceed wholeheartedly in that vein this winter as he looks to improve on a season that saw him take just one victory, the low-key GP Bruno Beghelli.
“Above all, he needs to find his sharpness, so twice a week he’ll go to the velodrome at Montichiari in order to do specific work on the track,” Scinto said. “I also hope he might be able to ride a Six Day, in Bremen or Berlin.”
Scinto also pointed out that Pozzato was slightly more corpulent than usual at the end of the 2011 season, and needs to reduce his in-form weight by the spring. “I’d seen him put on a bit of weight,” he noted. “Now his body fat is around 10%, but there’s the whole winter ahead. He needs to get to ‘his’ races around 8%.”
It remains to be seen precisely what those races will be, but Scinto is confident that the Pro Continental Farnese team will be invited to the big cobbled classics. “They’ve invited us to Het Volk and Kuurne in the past, and now that we have Pozzato, it will be easier to be at the start,” he said.
Team manager Angelo Citracca was more candid about the team’s programme: “A Dutch intermediary has guaranteed us an invitation to Amstel, Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Harelbeke, provided that we ride Waregem [Dwaars Door Vlaanderen] and another small race.”
A South American start
Pozzato’s season will get underway at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in January, and he will then ride the Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria and the Trofeo Laigueglia in February before heading north to Belgium.
In the more immediate future, the man from Sandrigo will begin training on November 20, ahead of Farnese-Neri’s first camp on the Tuscan coast in mid-December. Scinto himself will take charge of drawing up Pozzato’s training programme. “He trusts in me blindly,” he said.
The team is also set to employ Serge Parsani, Pozzato’s erstwhile directeur sportif at Katusha. Scinto himself rode under Parsani at MG-Technogym, Asics and Mapei in the 1990s, and it appears that he will replace Stefano Giuliani, who is touted to link up with his son-in-law Danilo Di Luca at Acqua & Sapone.
“In truth, I was the one who wanted Parsani,” Scinto said. “I was his rider for nine years and I know him very well. Pippo didn’t even ask us for one rider.”
Katusha’s choice of material was reportedly one of a number of factors in the breakdown of Pozzato’s relationship with the team, and ironically, bike manufacturer Focus may be about to come on board as a replacement for MCipollini.
“By the end of the season, the Germans had made a good frame,” Scinto insisted. “But in the end, I think we’ll stay with MCipollini, which could also become the second name on our jersey.”