Filippo Pozzato is making the top-form push for the upcoming World Championships. He will form part of Italy's Squadra Azzurra that will seek to defend its 2006 title won by Paolo Bettini. The 25 year-old from Sandrigo (Vicenza) knows that there will be shared leadership but he is "ready to take responsibility."
He is stationed at 1800 metres elevation in Livigno for a training camp that will lead him on to the GP Plouay, the Tour of Poland and then the big day in Stuttgart, the World Championships, September 30.
"It is going very well. I am doing a lot of training to arrive for the Worlds at 100 percent," he confirmed to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I am very content with my rhythm. The motivation and desire are there; I am very concentrated. ... I started coming here during the junior national training camps. I go to the same place, Hotel Bivio. There are some riders that come to this hotel because of the discotheque but after dinner I am in my room sleeping; however, I see a lot of them down there [at the discotheque]."
Pozzato wanted to ride the Vuelta a España, like Paolo Bettini, to prepare for the Worlds but he will ride another programme to respect the wishes of Roberto Amadio. The Liquigas Team Manager did not want his riders pulling out of the race after two weeks of racing, preferring that Pozzato uses the Plouay (this Sunday) and the Tour of Poland (September 10 - 16) as 'training.'
"I respect the decision of Liquigas but what about the riders like Bettini, Cunego and Rebellin that will stop at the Vuelta? ... All the same, I will be ready for Stuttgart."
Pozzato will race the World Championships along side Bettini but he will likely be given his own chances. National Directeur Sportif Franco Ballerini and Bettini both have faith in the rider that won the Tour de France stage to Autun.
"Franco knows that if he gives me a chance I will not let him down," Pozzato continued. "I am ready to take responsibility. I have always been faithful to the national squad – at Madrid and at Salzburg. I have always done my work because I am a professional.
"Di Luca, when he saw the course, he said, 'it is made for you. Hard climbs and a sprint on a light, powerful rise.'"
There should be no difficulties between 'Il Grillo Livornese' and Pozzato as the two share an optimum friendship. "Paolo is the best in the world when it comes to one-day racing. We are very friendly. ... He always sends me an SMS when I win. I took him to the finale in Salzburg and he gave me a gift from his heart – he gave me the rainbow jersey that he wore while winning the Giro di Lombardia. It has a huge value to me.
"Paolo is very honest; if he is not at the top he will give you the possibility to play your cards."