Italian professionals obliged to ride national championships

The Italian Cycling Federation has reminded all its professional riders that they are obliged to ride the national road race championships later this month. Under a rule introduced during the winter, an unjustified absence could mean a rider is not selected for the European or World Championship road races later in the season.

"The same thing happens in France and Belgium. The Italian championship is an important race and so we wanted to send a clear signal," Italian national coach Davide Cassani explained to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We want that the riders feel obliged to take part so that we can protect Italian cycling. Certain values have to be respected and the Italian Azzurra jersey has to be honoured. Whoever doesn't take part in the championship without a valid reason, will not be selected for the European and World Championships."

This year's national championships will be held in the northern Piedmont region, with the men's 245km race between Asti and Ivrea on Sunday June 25. The women's race will be held on the same day and will also finish in Ivrea.

Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) won the 2016 men's title, while Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM) claimed the women's title for the second year in a row. Riders often choose to miss the national championships because the course does not suit them or because they are preparing for the Tour de France or Giro Rosa stage races.

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