Filippo Pozzato has revealed he is happy to abstain from having sex if it will help him stay focused and win the world road race title in Melbourne.
The Italian Katusha rider, who celebrates his 29th birthday today, while racing at the Vuelta, has a reputation of being a playboy who lives in Monte Carlo and drives around in a Ferrari. But he has told Gazzetta dello Sport that he has not had sex for five months, since breaking up with his longtime girlfriend during the Giro d'Italia.
"Staying away from women isn't a problem for me at the moment. For the world championships I'm willing to make that sacrifice and lots of others," Pozzato said.
"I haven't had sex since I broke up with my girlfriend during the Giro d'Italia. The end of my relationship was a difficult time and at the Giro I was sleeping for just two or three hours. I was a wreck.
"I've been away from home for two months now, either at races or training camps. I'm getting used to it, even if I'm missing my family a little.
"I've been labeled as a playboy but I hope things will change now. I've had some fun in the past, like everyone my age. But I'm 110% dedicated to cycling now."
Gazzetta reveals that several Italian riders from the past used to abstain from sex for months on end during the season. In the forties and fifties it was believed to help performance and Vittorio Adorni didn't have sex during the whole of 1968 season before winning the world title in Imola.
Pozzato revealed in his latest blog for Cyclingnews that he has been living like a monk and is riding the Vuelta a Espana as build-up for the world championships. He intends to finish the Vuelta and then will fly to Australia just two days later.
He was in Melbourne and Geelong in July to see the course and is convinced that it is too difficult for the pure sprinters but offers him an excellent chance to win the world title.
"Cavendish won the stage and is coming into form but I still think the course in Melbourne is too tough for sprinters like him and Farrar. Perhaps I'm wrong and he'll surprise us like he did at Milan-Sanremo. But to be honest I think people like Philippe Gilbert and Freire are bigger favourites."
Italian national coach Paolo Bettini is expected to name Pozzato as leader of the Italian team on Tuesday.
"I'll be very proud to lead the Italian team and winning the world title would be the highlight of anyone's career," Pozzato said.
"I think I've got a good chance if there's a select group of 30 riders together on the uphill finish. I think I can have my say in a sprint like that. It's impossible not to make a mistake during a world championships but it's important to make as few mistakes as possible. That's the key."