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Gallery: Italian Worlds team trains in Valkenburg

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Luca Paolini is the team's regista, or road captain.

Luca Paolini is the team's regista, or road captain.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fuel for the road for the Italian team.

Fuel for the road for the Italian team.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Dario Cataldo (Italy).

Dario Cataldo (Italy).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Third-year pro Fabio Felline is still eligible for the under-23 road race, where he will lead the Italian team.

Third-year pro Fabio Felline is still eligible for the under-23 road race, where he will lead the Italian team.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Diego Ulissi (Italy) is an explosive rider who will look to make the difference on the Cauberg.

Diego Ulissi (Italy) is an explosive rider who will look to make the difference on the Cauberg.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Italian Worlds team warms up.

The Italian Worlds team warms up.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The stylish Eros Capecchi will have an important role.

The stylish Eros Capecchi will have an important role.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rinaldo Nocentini finished on the podium of the under-23 road race at the 1998 Worlds in Valkenburg.

Rinaldo Nocentini finished on the podium of the under-23 road race at the 1998 Worlds in Valkenburg.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Neo-pro Moreno Moser has a degree of responsibility in Valkenburg.

Neo-pro Moreno Moser has a degree of responsibility in Valkenburg.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Oscar Gatto could be a wildcard for the Italians.

Oscar Gatto could be a wildcard for the Italians.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Many of the azzurri opted to train on the rollers due to the cold.

Many of the azzurri opted to train on the rollers due to the cold.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rosella Ratto (Italy).

Rosella Ratto (Italy).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Marco Pinotti training for the Worlds time trial.

Marco Pinotti training for the Worlds time trial.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Marco Pinotti checks the route.

Marco Pinotti checks the route.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Noemi Cantele ready for the Valkenburg Worlds.

Noemi Cantele ready for the Valkenburg Worlds.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali leads the Italian team.

Vincenzo Nibali leads the Italian team.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali sets out to train in Valkenburg.

Vincenzo Nibali sets out to train in Valkenburg.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Adriano Malori (Italy) lines up in the time trial.

Adriano Malori (Italy) lines up in the time trial.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Davide Martinelli (Italy) will ride for Sky in 2013.

Davide Martinelli (Italy) will ride for Sky in 2013.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) prepares for a training ride.

Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) prepares for a training ride.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Vincenzo Nibali was one of the few Italians to train on the road on Monday.

Vincenzo Nibali was one of the few Italians to train on the road on Monday.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Italian hopes rest on Vincenzo Nibali's shoulders.

Italian hopes rest on Vincenzo Nibali's shoulders.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Marco Pinotti brings a wealth of experience to the Italian camp.

Marco Pinotti brings a wealth of experience to the Italian camp.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Last-minute adjustments for Marco Pinotti.

Last-minute adjustments for Marco Pinotti.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Giacomo Nizzolo is part of a youthful Italian team.

Giacomo Nizzolo is part of a youthful Italian team.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Italian coach Paolo Bettini has promised that his team will go on the offensive in Sunday’s world championships road race in Valkenburg. After a disappointing showing in Copenhagen last year, the squadra azzurra is determined to bounce back, with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) leading the line.

“No, you won’t see the team playing catenaccio – we’re not interested in shutting down the race like in the past. We have to break the race open,” Bettini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “We don’t have a Gilbert or a Valverde, the kind of athlete who you can bring to the foot of the Cauberg and give him the responsibility of getting a result with reasonable certainty that he will deliver.”

Instead, Bettini will ask his youthful line-up – riders with past doping suspensions and riders currently under investigation were not considered for selection – to be “a bit rebellious” and go on the attack.

“If you wait, you risk having regrets,” he said. “It’s better to be at the front instead of following. The team is young but it knows how to race. I’ll tell everyone: ‘Have a go.’”

Vincenzo Nibali’s strong showing on the Cauberg in Sunday’s team time trial offered some timely encouragement to the Italian squad. Bettini had seemed unconvinced by the Sicilian’s potential to lead the team in Valkenburg earlier in the season, but Nibali’s consistency in the classics impressed the national coach.

“He’s not just a rider for the grand tours anymore, he showed that at Milan-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he took risks to try and win,” Bettini said. “The harder the race is, the better it is for him.

“These Worlds could be really very open. I really believe in the team I’ve put together. There’s nothing to lose and nothing to fear.”