Italian national coach Davide Cassani has confirmed his five-rider team for the Rio Olympic Games Road Race on August 6. Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali has been named as expected with his Astana teammates Fabio Aru and Diego Rosa also getting the call up, as do BMC Racing duo Damiano Caruso and Alessandro De Marchi. Cassini made the announcement following the conclusion of the UCI 1.1 Trofeo Matteotti in Pescara.
Nibali is the only rider from the five-man team at the 2012 London Games to also represent his country in Rio. The 31-year-old was 101st on a course that wasn't suited to his characteristics, one week after finishing third at the Tour de France, and will lead the team on the challenging course which starts and finishes on the iconic Copacabana beach.
"It's never easy to make a choice of this kind because five places are very few; mainly because there are so many men who have been excluded and that were deserving," Cassani said of the selection.
"It's a strong team, who will try to obtain the best results, although it will not be easy, given the challenging characteristics of the percorso, with a 9km climb that will surely be selective. I chose athletes that can sacrifice themselves and contribute from the outset to the cause. I'm confident."
De Marchi is the only member of the team currently not racing the Tour de France as he is taking part in the Tour de Pologne. He will join the squad who will assemble in Fiuggi from July 27-30, flying out to Brazil on the evening of July 30 where they will be based in the Olympic Village.
Having been in contention for a place in the team, Adriano Malori will miss Rio as he continues to recover from a heavy fall at the Tour de San Luis. The Movistar rider was due to race the time trial which will be contested by Nibali and one other member of the team yet to be decided by Cassani.
Cassani and his team will be aiming to claim Italy's first medal in the road race since Paolo Bettini's victory at the 2004 Athens Games.