Nibali to lead the Azzurri in Limburg
Italian national coach Paolo Bettini is set to run with a new generation of riders for the upcoming UCI Road World Championships in Limburg, the Netherlands.
Gazzetta dello Sport reports that riders with who have been previously suspended for doping offences - Ivan Basso, Danilo di Luca, Alessandro Petacchi, Michele Scarponi - and riders identified in on-going investigations - Alessandro Ballan, Filippo Pozzato and Giovanni Visconti - will not be eligible in the squad due to the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) zero tolerance policy. Visconti was a part of the 2011 team that raced in Copenhagen.
The full line up is set to be announced following the Giro di Padania and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Montreal, however it's believed that the team will be led by Vincenzo Nibali while Eros Capecchi, Eliva Favilli, Oscar Gatto, Moreno Moser, Rinaldo Nocentini, Luca Paolini and Diego Ulissi should also get a start. Adriano Malori and Marco Pinotti will represent Italy in the individual time trial.
The team will be attempting to improve on their disappointing result from the 2011 when Bettini built the Italian team around sprinter Daniele Bennati but he and the other ‘Azzurri' riders struggled in the chaotic finish and Bennati finished a lowly 14th place, behind Mark Cavendish. That was Italy's worst result in the men's road race since 1983, when Giuseppe Saronni finished 19th in Altenrheim, Switzerland.
Italy finished sixth in the world championship medal table, winning just a gold medal thanks to Giorgia Bronzini in the women's road race.