Filippo Pozzato has revealed he has yet to see a recording of the sprint finish at the world championships after being told by Italian national coach Paolo Bettini that he had missed out on a huge occasion to become world champion.
Pozzato finished fourth in the sprint but came from much further behind in the final 100 metres after opting to follow Oscar Freire in the sprint instead of eventual winner Thor Hushovd.
Pozzato was criticised by former Italian world champion Mario Cipollini before and after the world championships but has never been afraid to admit when he makes a mistake or respond to his critics.
“I’m not afraid to say that it was my fault.” Pozzato told Gazzetta dello Sport as he prepared for today’s Paris-Tours.
“The Italian team rode really well and were synchronised like an orchestra. I had cramp when Gilbert attacked and that affected my ride and so in the finale I wasn’t convinced of what I could do. I then also made the mistake of following Freire instead of Hushovd.”
“I’m not saying I’d have won but… As I said, it’s my fault and I’m not afraid to admit it.”
Cipollini claimed that Pozzato does not have the ability to win major classics. He responds with a question: “If we look at things that way, how many classics has Hushovd won? If we talk about the monumental classics, it’s one. So what does that mean?”
“I can’t deny that I haven’t won much recently but nobody can say that I haven’t been consistent. If they do, they’re not being honest.”
Pozzato, like Philippe Gilbert and many other riders, hopes to make up for his poor result in the world championships with a successful ride at Paris-Tours.
He is still recovering from the long trip back to Europe from Australia but has often been in the action on the short climbs before the finish on the long Avenue de Grammont in the centre of Tours.
“Gilbert is the big favourite, even if he was only 18th at the worlds….” Pozzato said.
“He can win for a third consecutive time and that would be a record, so he will be motivated. There’s also someone like Van Avermaet, even if he is Gilbert’s teammate and sprinters like Bennati, who I will have to anticipate.”
“I’m still getting over the jet lag but it’ll be the same for everyone who was at the worlds. I’m sure I haven’t lost the form I built up by riding the Vuelta. The base of form is there. I’ll be riding to win.”