Paolo Bettini has made his selections for the 2012 London Olympics and the Italians will be sending a mixed group of veterans and young riders. Sacha Modolo, Vincenzo Nibali, Luca Paolini, Marco Pinotti and Matteo Trentin will represent the Azzuri at the Games.
Filipo Pozzato was not selected. He was a leading candiate for the team until the Italian Olympic Committee's recent recommendation that he be banned for a year for his contact with Dr. Michele Ferrari.
Modolo, 25, may be the surprise captain on the team. The Colnago-CSF Inox rider finished second in the test event on the London course last year. Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), has shown his usual good form this year, winning Tirenno-Adriatico and finishing second in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Paolini will ride in his second Olympics. He is a valued member of the national team, as he has ridden the world championships for Italy eight times. Trentin is the youngest of the group, at 22 years old. The Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider is a first year pro and making his first appearance on the national team.
Pinotti, the oldest on the team at 36, not only brings valuable experience to the road race but will also be the nation's representative in the time trial. He is a five-time national time trial champion.
Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) is the reserve for the team. He has already been named to the Italian track team, where he will ride the Omniun.
“I chose these guys because I believe they may be the right mix for this type of competition, both in terms of technical features and team spirit,” Bettini said. “All have demonstrated commitment, devotion and dedication to the national team and to the project. In the Olympics we can field only five runners, this is a mini club, and previous experiences in Athens and Beijing have shown that to get a result, teamwork and the riders' ability to make themselves available and to sacrifice for teammates are crucial."