The Italian team for the world championships in Valkenburg was unveiled on Tuesday, with Vincenzo Nibali, Moreno Moser and Diego Ulissi leading a line-up that includes no riders currently under investigation for doping, as per the Italian Cycling Federation’s new selection policy.
Speaking at a press conference in Milan, national coach Paolo Bettini said that he supported the federation’s directive, which also forbids the selection of riders who have served doping suspensions in excess of three months.
“I agree fully with the federation’s decision and I’ve built the best national team possible,” Bettini said, according to Tuttobici. “The instructions were simple and clear – no riders who had been suspended for doping and no riders who are under investigation. So it was an obvious choice to build a team around young riders. Fortunately, we have a very important point of reference in Vincenzo Nibali and some good cards to play in Moreno Moser and Diego Ulissi, who is maybe our rider best-suited to the circuit in Holland.”
Bettini has named an eleven-man pre-selection for the road race, and he will announce his final nine late next week. Joining Nibali, Moser and Ulissi in Limburg will be Luca Paolini (Katusha), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Nissan), Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Matteo Trentin, Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM).
Only four of the selection - Nibali, Paolini, Gatto and Nocentini - have previously raced for the national team. 22-year-old Fabio Felline (Androni-Venezuela), who has already competed at both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, has been named as part of the under-23 team.
Marco Pinotti (BMC) and Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) will compete in the individual time trial. “Pinotti is confident that the course suits him better than at the Olympics, and he never lets the side down when he wears the blue jersey,” Bettini said. “Malori ruled himself out of the Games because he didn’t feel good, but he wants to make up for that at the Worlds.”
Bettini insisted that the FCI’s latest directives had not impacted greatly on his selection. Lamenting the dearth of in-form Italian riders, he said that Alessandro Ballan (BMC) was the only barred rider who had been in his plans for the Worlds. Ballan, the 2008 world champion, has been named in the Mantova-based doping investigation into his former Lampre team.
“[FCI president Renato] Di Rocco asked me if the federation had put me in difficulty with its decisions, and I responded that I would have preferred if the riders themselves had made it hard for me to pick the team,” Bettini said. “Instead, apart from Ballan and the injured Enrico Gasparotto [who took to Twitter to refute claims that he has been implicated in the Padova investigation – ed.], I didn’t have any other names in my notebook.”
Italian teams for the world championships:
Elite men's road race: Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Oscar Gatto (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack-Nissan), Vincenzo Nibali, Eros Capecchi, Moreno Moser (Liquigas-Cannondale), Matteo Trentin, Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM).
Elite men' time trial: Marco Pinotti (BMC), Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD)
Elite women: Giada Borgato, Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora Pasta Zara), Noemi Cantele, Dalia Muccioli (BePink), Francesca Cauz (Top Girls), Elena Cecchini, Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini Giambenini), Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Product), Rossella Ratto (Verinlegno Fabiani).