By Gregor Brown
Top Italian guns will battle for the rights to wear the national championship jersey this Sunday in Bergamo. The fight of riders such as Damiano Cunego, Riccardo Riccò and Enrico Gasparotto promises to be legendary on the 18.7-kilometre circuit parcours, which includes the Colle Aperto climb.
The city, ten years on from Andrea Tafi's win, returns to host a 254.8-kilometre men's road race as part of the Settimana Tricolore. The 375-metre Colle Aperto, coming just two kilometres before the arrival and repeated 13 times, should produce a difficult day out. Expect to see those riders that excel in the Ardennes Classics rise to the front.
Damiano Cunego is a name that many people are touting as he won the Amstel Gold Race earlier this year and is back on form heading into the Tour de France. The 26 year-old will have strong Lampre support from the likes of Alessandro Ballan and Paolo Bossoni.
Enrico Gasparotto just came off a successful run in the Ster Elektrotoer, winning a stage and the overall, and should be there at the end of the day. Since the Barloworld rider concluded his Giro d'Italia he has been solely concentrating on the nationals which he won three years ago in Abruzzo as a neo-professional.
Riccardo Riccò could really surprise us as he has not been racing since finishing second in the Giro d'Italia, but the Saunier Duval rider has confirmed he has been training long hours and seems to be rejuvenated as evident by his recent self-selection for the Tour de France. Riccò, like Cunego and Gasparotto, showed well in the Spring Classics and should perform well on what is expected to be a hot day out.
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