By Gregor Brown in Varese
Team Italy's henchmen – Gabriele Bosisio and Marzio Bruseghin – paved the way for Alessandro Ballan's victory at the World Championships last Sunday. Their work in the early circuits around Varese's 17.35-kilometre course put the team's rivals on their limit and captured the day's escape.
"Bruseghin and I had to drive the race," said Bosisio, 28, to Cyclingnews. The power duo dropped out of the race following lap 13 of the 15-lap race.
Directeur sportif Franco Ballerini ordered them to the front in lap six to eleven in order to string out the peloton and reel in the three escapees. Bosisio – winner of stage seven at the Giro d'Italia – and Bruseghin – winner of stage 10 – swapped pulls to bring the escape's 17-minute advantage down to nothing.
The advance of Team Belgium and the subsequent attack of teammate Luca Paolini in lap 11 signaled the end of their work. "The more I was able to pull and the closer I got to the finish the better," Bosisio said of his first Worlds participation at the elite level. "If we go on to win the race it means my work had value." One hour later the team was celebrating its victory and second place with Damiano Cunego.
The day marked the end of long season for Bruseghin, 34. He completed all three Grand Tours, including a third overall in the Giro, and the Olympics this year.
"Today closes a long season," said Bruseghin after pulling out of the race. "I did what I could and I think I rode a good Worlds. I hope the team benefits from my work."
Team Italy's Andrea Tonti and Luca Paolini both contributed to the early pace-making as well. They were the only four of the nine-member team who did not finish the race.