Italian national team manager Paolo Bettini is overseeing a time trial training camp in Tuscany in a bid to improve his country’s fortunes against the clock at the world championships. No Italian rider took part in the elite time trial in Geelong last year and the country has won just one medal in the event since its introduction in 1994, when Andrea Chiurato took silver behind Chris Boardman.
“A special training camp for the time trial: it's a hard task but one where it’s necessary to motivate the athletes in for them to grow,” Bettini told Tuttobici. “I’m looking to the next Worlds and I would like to participate with a precise objective in mind in this discipline too.”
Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad) is the most experienced time triallist present at the Marina di Bibbona camp, which runs until Thursday. He is joined by Dario Cataldo (Quick Step), Alfredo Balloni (Lampre-ISD), Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD), Alan Marangoni (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Manuel Quinziato (BMC).
Four riders from the Italian under 23 squad (Diego Florio, Gianluca Leonardi, Metto Mammini and Alessandro Stocco) are also on hand, along with their manager Marino Amadori.
Bettini hopes that the novel training camp will be just the first of many he will have to work with his charges first hand this season. In 2010, he brought an experimental Italian selection to the Giro del Veneto and he is aiming to repeat such trials more frequently in the future.
The touted test event on the London 2012 Olympic course, earmarked for August 14, may offer one such opportunity, but Bettini is also working on sending an Italian team to a stage race in 2011.
“There might be the possibility of the azzurri participating in a race on the London circuit in August, on the road and perhaps even a time trial,” Bettini said. “Regarding the national calendar, I won’t hide that I would like to take part in a stage race. We’re working on it and deciding on what road to take.
“We’ve also received an invitation to participate in the Tour of Malta in April and we’ll evaluate if that will be possible.”
It is also reported that former Italian football manager Marcello Lippi will visit the training camp on Wednesday.