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Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) looking a little weary on the podium
Italian champion will not defend his title in June
Filippo Pozzato has won Milan-San Remo, a stage win at the Tour de France and the Italian championship but admitted that his stage victory at the Giro d'Italia was special because, like most Italians, he grew up watching the Giro.
“This win is special because the Giro is special to me,” he said. “It’s the race I went to watch with my father. I’m having a difficult time but I won’t say more about that, it’s personal. But I’ve won with my heart.”
Pozzato’s win is also special because it is the first individual stage victory by an Italian rider in this year’s race. Liquigas-Doimo won the team time trial but never before in 101 year history of the corsa rosa, have the tifosi had to wait until stage 12 to celebrate an Italian winner.
“At the one kilometre mark, I expected an attack by Thomas Voeckler but not by Nibali and Vinokourov”, Pozzato explained. “On the last climb before the finish, I moved up to the front. I thought it was too far out to go on the attack but then Failli went and it created a small group. I went with them when I saw Basso and Nibali going across. To be up there with overall contenders was the best situation for me.”
Pozzato was asked about the Landis case. He defended cycling, pointing out the way the sport has tried to clean up its act.
“No one is paying attention to the good changes the sport has made. Cycling is cleaner now than in the past" he said. "We have accepted all the rules imposed on us, unlike other sports. You can see cycling has changed. The riders are more tired, the race cannot be controlled like before, young riders are coming to the forefront and people are not afraid to try and attack. Why don’t journalists write about that?”
Pozzato confirmed that he won’t defend his Italian national road race title on June 27, even though the race will be held in Treviso, close to his home town in the northern Veneto region.
“It’s a painful decision but last year I did 110 days of racing and I never reached the level I wanted. Initially I didn’t plan to finish the Giro but I’ll do it to respect of the ‘tricolore’ jersey. After that I won’t take part in the Tour de Suisse, the Italian championship and the Tour de France. I’ll take a good rest and will use the Vuelta as a preparation for the world championship.”
Pozzato hopes to swap his ‘tricolore’ jersey for the rainbow jersey in Australia.