Italian Champ Pozzato points to Tour

New champion looks for third stage win

Filippo Pozzato wants to put the Italian Champion's jersey he won yesterday in Imola, Italy, on display at the Tour de France. The race starts near his home in Monaco on Saturday.

"To go to the Tour with this jersey pleases me. I want to win at least one stage in France," Pozzato, 27, told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Pozzato has won races like the Milano-Sanremo in his 10 years as a professional, but it was the first time he has won the Italian champion jersey. He told Cyclingnews at the beginning of the year that victory at his national championships was one of his main goals.

"This jersey makes me happy, but it is also a big responsibility. I know that I will be even more at the centre of attention and as soon as I show weakness there will be critics," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Pozzato receives criticism from the press for winning infrequently. Last year, he helped former team Liquigas win the Vuelta a España time trial and he won a stage of the Giro della Grosseto. The small number of wins was on his mind when he signed with team Katusha over the winter.

Team Manager Andrei "Tchmil knows what to do. I spoke with him the other night and he told me that this jersey is looked upon in a particular way. A one-day race is much more important for him and a stage victory at the Tour with the jersey on show is even better."

Pozzato won his first Tour de France stage in 2004 when he was with team Fassa Bortolo. He won again in 2007 in Auton.

The three week Tour de France will begin on July 4 and ends in Paris July 26.

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