Gilbert, Pozzato and Freire head down under for world championships

With the start of the road race world championships just over a week away, European riders have begun the long the journey to Australia so they have time to recover from the 23-hour flight and jet lag.

World champion Cadel Evans rode his last race in the rainbow jersey at the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen in Belgium on Friday and is on his way to Canberra today to join up with his teammates from the Australia team for a training camp. Michael Rogers is also due to travel today from his home in northern Italy.

The Italian team gathered near Varese on Monday and also fly to Australia today. Vuelta a Espana winner Vincenzo Nibali returned home to Tuscany from Madrid on Monday but only had a few hours to celebrate with his fans and change his suitcase before joining up with the rest of the Italian team.

The Italian riders underwent anti-doping tests by the Italian Olympic Committee on Monday night and faced further tests by the Italian Cycling Federation on Tuesday morning.

The three-rider British team is also set to leave today. Mark Cavendish, Jeremy Hunt and David Millar all rode the Vuelta and had just a day at home before their journey down under.

The Belgian team will leave from Brussels on Wednesday but according to La Derniere Heure newspaper face an uncomfortable journey after the Belgian Cycling Federation booked them in economy class. Team leader Philippe Gilbert and Bjorn Leukemans apparently paid an extra 2000 Euro to fly business to rest their legs.

Germany, Russia and the Netherlands look set to be the last teams to leave Europe for Australia. The Elite men's road race team s will leave on Friday, just nine days before the road race on Sunday October 3.

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