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Ganna, Balsamo, Paternoster and Viviani lead Italian team for Track Worlds

The Italian men's team pursuit squad
The Italian men's team pursuit squad (Image credit: Getty Images)

Filippo Ganna, Elia Viviani, Elisa Balsamo, and Letizia Paternoster are part of a strong Italian team for this week’s UCI Track World Championships in Roubaix, with the Azzurri looking to continue their 2021 success after winning a haul of medals at the Tokyo Olympic.

The Track World Championships were scheduled for the spring but were moved to the end of the European season and from Turkmenistan to France and due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The racing starts with Team Pursuit qualifying rides on Wednesday afternoon in the covered Jean Stablinski velodrome in Roubaix – just next to the famous outdoor velodrome – and continues with afternoon and evening sessions of racing until Sunday. 

Ganna again anchors the Italian Team Pursuit squad and will also target a fifth Individual Pursuit title. His biggest rivals are new world record holder Ashton Lambie of the USA and his young teammate Jonathan Milan, who recently won the European title. 

Viviani ended his 2021 road race season with Cofidis on Sunday but will be on the boards later this week riding the Omnium and the individual races. He won the Omnium at the Rio Olympics in 2016 but surprisingly has never won a world title on the track.     

Also in the Italian men’s track squad are Liam Bertazzo, Davide Boscaro, Simone Consonni, Francesco Lamon, Manlio Moro and Michele Scartezzini.

Balsamo will swap her road race world champion’s jersey for the Italian blue colours to compete in the endurance events. 

She crashed hard in Tokyo during the Omnium but is back on form. She and Letizia Paternoster are likely to team-up for the Madison and also ride Team Pursuit, in a young endurance squad that also includes Martina Alzini, Rachele Barbieri, Chiara Consonni, Silvia Zanardi and Martina Fidanza. Miriam Vece will ride the sprint events.

The Roubaix world championships are likely to be the final moment of Dino Savoldi’s long spell as head coach of the Italian national road and track team.

He has helped create the success of the Italian national team for over 20 years, with athletes winning 250 medals but is widely expected to be moved aside by new Italian president Cordiano Dagnoni.     

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