Reigning champion Giorgia Bronzini’s participation in Saturday’s women’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships has been cast into doubt as the Italian has been suffering from flu since her arrival in Limburg two days ago.
"Since I got here two days ago, I’ve been suffering from a cold," Bronzini said in Maastricht. "I think it’s a sort of flu really, but I hope to recover in time for Saturday."
At the Italian team press conference in Maastricht on Thursday evening, team manager Edoardo Savoldi said that Bronzini would be free to delay a decision on her participation until late on Friday. Bronzini is automatically granted a berth in the race as defending champion, and would participate in addition to Italy’s original quota of six riders.
"As Giorgia would not be taking the place of another rider in any case, we can give her a bit of time to make her decision, but we certainly hope that she can line up," Savoldi said.
Even if she does eventually take the start, Bronzini is unlikely to complete a remarkable hat-trick of world titles on a Valkenburg course that is significantly more testing than the circuits she faced in Geelong (2010) and Copenhagen (2011). In revealing his roster, Savoldi acknowledged that the squadra azzurra would have its work cut out to deny Marianne Vos (Netherlands) the rainbow jersey on home roads. Remarkably, the Dutchwoman has never finished outside the top two in the Worlds road race throughout her professional career, although her sole triumph dates back to her first year as a professional in 2006.
"We’re living through the extraordinary era of Marianne Vos, and on top of that, she is riding on home roads and has the added motivation of being the Olympic champion," Savoldi acknowledged. "It’s a perfect course for her too, but we’re not starting out with the intention of simply limiting our losses."
The Italian team consists of Bronzini, Noemi Cantele, Francesca Cauz, Elena Cecchini, Tatiana Guderzo, Elisa Longo Borghini and Rossella Ratto.
"There’s a lot of experience in there, but that’s been combined with some emerging riders," Savoldi said.