Italian fights to secure a place in Italian world championship team
Filippo Pozzato has been left out of the Katusha line-up for the Vuelta a Espana and faces a fight to secure a place in the Italian team for the world road race championships in Copenhagen.
The former Italian national champion has not raced for three months, since breaking his wrist and collarbone during the final stage of the Tour of Belgium in late May. He will be back in action at the Tour of Poland on Sunday but has been snubbed by the Katusha team for a place in the Vuelta. This will leave him with a collection of just 12 days of racing in his legs between now and the world championships on September 25.
Questions about Pozzato’s fitness have put his selection for the nine-rider Italian team for Copenhagen in doubt. Pozzato was one of the Italian team’s protected riders in Australia last year and finished fourth, close to Thor Hushovd in the sprint. However he has not ridden a Grand Tour this year after also bring left out of the Katusha team for the Giro d'Italia.
Following the weeklong Tour of Poland, Pozzato will ride the Trittico Lombardo (August 16-17-19), the Hamburg Cyclassics (August 21) and the GP Ouest-France Plouay (August 28).
“I’ve been training at altitude for 10 days on the Stelvio, with my teammate Luca Paolini and (Enrico) Gasparotto. Now I’m looking forward to seeing how I feel in Poland,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I’ve always been loyal to the Italian team, and I’ll always give my all, in a race and in training to earn my place. But if I realise I’m not good enough, I’ll be the first to say it.”
Italian national coach Paolo Bettini has always considered Pozzato a key rider for the Italian national team but has always insisted riders need to earn and justify their place in the national team. Italy is expected to field a largely young team of rider for the Olympic road race test event on August 14, with Luca Paolini, Oscar Gatto, Sacha Modolo, Eros Capecchi and Diego Ulissi filling the five places.
Pozzato will have to convince Bettini that his limited race programme will give him the fitness needed to go the distance and be competitive in the world championships.
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