National coach Bettini to visit the Vuelta
Filippo Pozzato is hoping he won't be wearing the regular Katusha uniform for longer than the duration of the Vuelta a España. Whilst he doesn't sport the Italian national champion's jersey anymore, there's another he'd like to don - the rainbow stripes of world champion.
"My form is good," said the newly-mustachioed Italian prior to the start of stage six in Caravaca de la Cruz. "I'm getting better and better. In the first two hilly finishes I was up there helping Joaquin [Rodriguez] to be well positioned."
Pozzato is clearly building his condition for the world championship in Australia on October 3. "Paolo Bettini has said that I'd be the team leader. He has great confidence in me; I'm one of the riders who can do well and I feel like a leader for this race."
The Italian national coach will arrive at the Vuelta on Saturday for the uphill finish of Xorret de Cati and stay at the Spanish tour for three days.
"We speak on the phone once every two days," Pozzato revealed. The former Italian champion and the new national coach paid a trip to Australia in mid-July to reconnoitre the course with the new Italian champion Giovanni Visconti, Daniele Bennati and Luca Paolini.
"I was the one asking to go," said Pozzato, who skipped the Tour de France this year simply because the course of the world championship suits him so well.
"I've learned from riding the course in Geelong that it's not typically for sprinters," Pozzato added. "It's a good course for Oscar Freire but not for Mark Cavendish. It might be okay for Thor Hushovd."
Bettini will announce the Italian team on October 14. The selected riders will be reunited on October 20 the day after finishing the Vuelta and they'll fly to Melbourne the following day.
Pozzato wants to jump on the plane with at least one stage win in his bag to enhance his confidence ahed of the world titles although he's already getting ready to fill the shoes of team captain of the squadra azzurra for the first time in his career.