Riccardo Riccò could face non-selection for the Olympic Road Race this August even though he recently stated his desire to represent the Italian team. The 24 year-old needs to show his strengths before mid-July, when Directeur Sportif Franco Ballerini will make the final team selection.
Team Saunier Duval-Scott's Riccò stated earlier in the year that he was not interested in the Olympic Games. He indicated that his goals were the Giro d'Italia (he won two stages and finished second overall) and the World Championships in September. However, last week, he said he will race the Tour de France and stated his newfound desire to travel to Beijing.
Saunier Duval has since nominated Riccò to captain the nine-man Tour de France team.
The selection into the five-man Italian National team depends on Ballerini. "I admire Riccò, but remember you don't nominate yourself for the national team," warned Ballerini, the directeur sportif of the 2004 Olympic team that won gold with Paolo Bettini, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Defending champion Bettini, two-time World Champion, is secured of his place an Olympic captain. Damiano Cunego, Davide Rebellin and Franco Pellizotti are likely to fill out the team in what is acknowledged to be a difficult course. Marzio Bruseghin could take the fifth spot in addition to being the soul Italian representative in the time trial. (GB)