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Italians warn against the Worlds being decided in a sprint

By:
Stephen Farrand
Published:
August 09, 2011, 13:06 BST,
Updated:
August 09, 2011, 15:53 BST
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Race:
UCI Road World Championships
Italy rolled out a strong lineup in the elite men’s road race and controlled much of the 257.5 kilometre race. Unfortunately the few kilometres Italy didn’t control were the closing two and the team were shutout of the medals after looking like dominating proceedings earlier in the day.

Italy rolled out a strong lineup in the elite men’s road race and controlled much of the 257.5 kilometre race. Unfortunately the few kilometres Italy didn’t control were the closing two and the team were shutout of the medals after looking like dominating proceedings earlier in the day.

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Bennati, Modolo and Colli talk about the Copenhagen course

This year's Worlds has been described as a sprinter's course but Italian riders Daniele Bennati, Sacha Modolo and Daniele Colli have warned that any eventual winner on September 25 will have to be far more than just a fast finisher.

The 266km men's road race race starts with a 28km ride from the centre of Copenhagen to the circuit north of the city in Rudersdal. The men then face 17 laps of the 14km circuit. Each lap includes 105 metres of climbing but it is more the technical nature of the course and the rising finishing straight that caught the attention of the Italian riders.

"Looking at it from a car or even on the bike during the race, it doesn't seem that hard. However it's definitely not like Zolder," Bennati told Gazzetta.it, referring to the pan flat Belgian motor racing circuit where Mario Cipollini won the world title in 2002.

"The finish is at the top of a one kilometre straight road that climbs gradually. That will make it a tough sprint. The weather will be the unknown factor too. Staying protected will be vital and so will be the work of the team. If I was the leader of the Italian team, I'd need the speed in the finale to be as high as possible to avoid any surprises."

Watch out for Freire, Gilbert and the wind

Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF Inox) won two stages at the Tour of Denmark last week and has been selected for Sunday's Olympic test event in London. He is also likely to secure a place in the nine-rider squad for the word championships, as Italy try to have as many options as possible in their team.

Modolo is not a pure sprinter but knows how to fight for position and then can unleash a fast finish. He predicted that the pure sprinters could be in for a shock on the technical course in Denmark.

"I don’t think it's a worlds for pure sprinters," he said claimed.

"It's more for rouleur riders who have a fast finishers. We rode a lap of the course on Sunday and the first impression was that it's a selective course. Bennati is coming into form after his problems and could do well but I noticed that Oscar Freire was riding well. It suits him."

"Whatever happens during the race, I don't think it'll be easy to control things for a big sprint finish. The route is more suited to attacks from people like Gilbert."

Daniele Colli (Geox-TMC) finished eight overall at the Tour of Denmark and pointed out that the weather in Denmark could be a crucial factor.

"The wind could be from the side and strong, especially in the first part of the race," he said. "It'll be important to watch out for echelons and to stay at the front. The circuit is full of black spots, where a break could disappear up the road into the woods, corners and ups and downs."

The world championships begin on September 19 with the time trial events. The road races for juniors, Under 23 men and Elite men and women will be held on September 23, 24 and 25.

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