Italians ready for championship

On Sunday, 166 Italian professionals will make their way to the start line in Bergamo to compete for...

On Sunday, 166 Italian professionals will make their way to the start line in Bergamo to compete for the title of national champion. Racers will compete over 13 laps totalling 254km.

Confirmed racers include favorite Olympic and World Champion Paolo Bettini, Italian champion Giovanni Visconti, Damiano Cunego and Riccardo Riccò. Noteworthy absentees include Danilo Di Luca, Paolo Savoldelli, Franco Pellizzotti and Emanuele Sella. Gilberto Simoni will also be otherwise engaged on his mountain bike.

Visconti will try to defend his tricolor jersey he won a year ago in Genova; however it won't be easy. Riccò will be in top form between the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France while Cunego should be going well just days before the start of the Tour de France.

One can't count out either Bettini or David Rebellin, and Enrico Gasparotto will want to return to wearing the national champion's jersey he last won in 2005. Stefano Garzelli knows well the climbs of the Città Alta in addition to the roads of Bergamo as he's won a stage of the Giro there. And last but not least, the Liquigas contingent of Filippo Pozzato and Vincenzo Nibali will want to make their mark, along with the three-time Italian national time trial champion Marco Pinotti, fresh off his most recent national time trial title earlier this week.

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