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Filippo Pozzato (Katusha)
Katusha rider mixing road and track work in Calpe
Filippo Pozzato is combining his pre-season road training with track sessions and has revealed he hopes to be part of an Italian 'dream team' that can ride the team pursuit at the 2012 London Olympics.
Pozzato rode on the track before turning professional, winning silver and bronze medals in the team pursuit at the 1989 and 1990 junior world track championships. Italy has a long tradition of track racing but risks failing to qualify a single rider for London 2012 due to a lack of funding and programming. Pozzato hopes to change that and would like to create a big-name dream team with Daniele Bennati, Daniel Oss, Elia Viviani and Alessandro Ballan. He is convinced they can transform their road speed into team pursuit speed and perhaps go close to a medal in London in 2012.
"Everyone dreams about doing the Olympics and I'd like to ride the road race in London but that doesn't mean I can't ride the track too," he told Gazzetta dello Sport on Saturday. "The points race and the omnium are very specialist disciplines, so the only thing left is the team pursuit.
"I've got a lot of respect for the pursuiters out there but I think if we put four of the best Italian road riders, we can do pretty well. I think if we got together for a month I think we'd have huge potential. I'm not saying we'd do the times of the countries that will be fighting for the medals like Great Britain or Australia but it wouldn't be impossible to get close to them."
Pozzato is in Calpe, Spain at a Katusha training camp. On Friday he worked in the gym early in the morning, did four and a half hours on the road with new teammate Luca Paolini during the day and then the two drove to the Luis Puig velodrome in Valencia to do several blocks of 30 minutes behind a derny, riding at a cadence of 120 and a speed of over 50km/h.
Pozzato rode on the new Italian track in Brescia during the Christmas holidays when the weather was bad and he is convinced that track riding is beneficial for road riders and riding the Olympics could also help promote track racing in Italy.
"We used to cry in Italy because we didn't have covered track. Now we've got one, we don't use it enough," he said. "Our experiment is a way of promoting the track in Italy. If it's done right the track can help road riders. It gives you a great pedalling action which is useful on the climbs and on the pave."