Filippo Ganna will defend his time trial world title at the UCI Road World Championships in Flanders on Sunday but a late change in the Italian team selection means he will not ride the road race as originally planned.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider is expected to be replaced by Alessandro De Marchi, with Ganna taking his place in the Team Time Trial Mixed Relay event next Wednesday before heading home.
Italian national coach Davide Cassani did not explain why he had changed Ganna’s role in the Italian team, but confirmed that Matteo Sobrero and Edoardo Affini will fill the other two places in the men’s Italian time trial team and the mixed relay. Ganna has an automatic third spot due to his 2020 victory.
Cassani will confirm his eight-rider team for the men’s road race on Monday, with Sonny Colbrelli, Matteo Trentin and Giacomo Nizzolo expected to be team leaders.
Ganna won the world title on home ground in Imola last year and is favourite for this year’s flat and fast 43.3km course between Knokke-Heist and Bruges. His rivals include Wout Van Aert and Remco Evenepoel of Belgium and new European champion Stefan Küng of Switzerland.
Ganna was surprised to lose the 22.4km European race to Küng by eight seconds but won gold in the team relay. He was part of the team that helped Sonny Colbrelli win the European road race title but played a domestique role, closing down a dangerous attack mid-race before the final selection was made.
Ganna, Sobrero and Affini will ride the team relay along with Marta Cavalli, Elisa Longo Borghini and Elena Cecchini, giving Italy an excellent chance of victory.
Ganna will not ride October's Paris-Roubaix and so it is unsure if he will race on the road again in 2021 before preparing for the Track World Championships at the end of October. This season he has already raced for 63 days, including the Giro d’Italia, and won gold on the track at the Tokyo Olympics as part of the Italian team pursuit squad.
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