Viviani to lead Italy at European road championships

Guarnieri, Sabatini and Ferrari combine to give Team Sky sprinter a strong lead out train

Elia Viviani will lead the Italian team at the European road race championships, with the nine-rider squad designed to set up and lead out the sprint for the Olympic gold medallist.

Also in the team are Viviani's Team Sky teammate Salvatore Puccio, Davide Cimolai, Jacopo Guarnieri, Fabio Sabatini, Roberto Ferrari, Davide Ballerini, Simone Consonni and Filippo Ganna.

Cimolai and Guarnieri were key lead out men for FDJ sprinter Arnaud Demare at the Tour de France, while Sabatini was the last man and bodyguard for Marcel Kittel, helping him to win five stages. Ganna, the 2016 individual pursuit world champion and now a professional with the UAE Emirates team, will also ride the 46km time trial.

The European road race championships will be held in Herning, Denmark between August 2-6. A total of 12 time trial and road race titles are up for grabs for men and women from junior, under 23 and elite level.

The elite men's road race will be held on Sunday August 6, with 2016 winner Peter Sagan due to defend his title after riding the Tour de Pologne. Jens Debusschere will lead the Belgian team for the race, while Bryan Coquard will lead the French squad in the absence of Demare and Nacer Bouhanni.

Italy is hoping that Viviani can deliver despite racing infrequently for Team Sky in recent weeks after missing out on a place in the Giro d'Italia. He was reportedly trying to transfer to another team to ride the Vuelta a Espana, but that move now seems unlikely. Viviani won two stages at the Tour of Austria while riding with the Italian national team, and also won two summer six-day events on the track in Fiorenzuola d'Arda and Turin.

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