Diego Ulissi confirmed his fine recent form with victory on stage two of the Tour de Slovenie on Saturday but the young Italian insisted that Damiano Cunego will lead Lampre-ISD at the Italian road race championships in Sicily next weekend.
“I’m thinking about the Italian championships, but our leader is Cunego, who is flying at the Tour de Suisse,” Ulissi told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Still, I’d like to do a great race and be close to him in the finale.”
Ulissi leads the Tour de Slovenie going into Sunday’s final stage after showcasing his talents during the final climb on the road to Golte. After fine work from his teammate Simon Spilak, Ulissi ripped clear 1.5km from home to take the win ahead of Radoslav Rogina (Loborika Favorit Team). He leads the Croatian by 36 seconds on GC.
“Spilak attacked 5 or 6km from the finish and gained a hundred metres,” Ulissi explained. “I was able to stay on the wheels, and then about a kilometre and a half from the line, on the hardest section with a slope of 15%, I went.”
On returning from Slovenia, Ulissi will head directly for Sicily for a four-day training camp with an Italian national selection on the slopes of Mount Etna. The double world junior champion has been called up for the second time by his fellow Tuscan Paolo Bettini, after he rode the Giro del Veneto for an Italian team last season.
Ulissi will be joined in Castiglione di Sicilia on Tuesday evening by Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli). The pair disputed a fractious stage finish in Tirano during the Giro d’Italia, where Visconti was disqualified after pushing Ulissi in the sprint, with victory awarded to the Lampre youngster.
The injured Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) will also be present in Sicily, along with his teammate Luca Paolini. The Italian federation has announced that no riders who have been sanctioned for doping offences can represent the country at the world championships. Although Paolini was questioned for his role in Operazione Athena, he has not faced any charges.
Italian selection for training camp, June 21-24:
Davide Appollonio (Sky), Manuel Belletti (Colnago – CSF Inox), Eros Capecchi (Liquigas Cannondale), Roberto Ferrari (Androni Giocattoli), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini – Neri Sottoli), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre ISD), Sacha Modolo (Colnago – CSF Inox), Luca Paolini (Team Katusha), Filippo Pozzato (Team Katusha), Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD), Elia Viviani (Liquigas Cannondale), Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini – Neri Sottoli).