Former UCI Road World Champion Paolo Bettini is leading a group of Italy’s top riders on a two-day reconnaissance of the 2010 world championships course in Geelong, Australia. Bettini landed in Melbourne on Tuesday night, before starting to preview the September/October event’s course today.
Joining Bettini on today’s rider were some of Italy’s top road professionals currently not taking part in the Tour de France. They included Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo), Luca Paolini (Aqua & Sapone), Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) and Giovanni Visconti (ISD), all possible members of the squadra azzurra.
Visconti wore his ISD kit in the colours of the Italian national champion on today's ride, having won the title at the end of June.
Bettini and the quartet are expected to spend Thursday continuing to gather information on the race route, before leaving Australia later that evening.
This year’s world championship team will be the first squad directed by the multiple world champion. Bettini was appointed to the role last month following the death of predecessor Franco Ballerini in a rallying accident in February.
Both of Bettini’s world championships and his Olympic Games victory came under Ballerini’s directorship. The former professional rider also led the Italian team to victory with Alessandro Ballan and Mario Cipollini.