By Gregor Brown
Italy's Luca Paolini of Team Acqua Sapone-Caffè Mokambo scored in one of the key pre-World Championships races used to select Italy's squadra azzurra the 58th Coppa Placci. Paolini, 31, won in a small group sprint over Italians Enrico Gasparotto of Team Barloworld and Mauro Facci of Team Quick Step.
It was Paolini's first win since the Trofeo Laigueglia in February. With the win, his name moves to the top of the list of Franco Ballerini, Italian national selector, for the World Championships road team. Ballerini will select the nine men to form the team the race, September 28, in the coming week.
Paolini will race next at the Tour of Romagna and Paris-Brussels "with the aim of doing well". The rider lives near the circuit of the World Championships later this month in Varese and he joked that even if he is not selected for the national team, he will be present at the Ronchi circuit.