Paolo Bettini has named the Italian team for the world championships road race in Geelong. Vincenzo Nibali’s (Liquigas-Doimo) Vuelta a España form has been rewarded with a place in Bettini’s first selection as Italian manager.
As expected, 2008 world champion Alessandro Ballan (BMC) missed out on selection, along with Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini).
The team will be led by Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), who travelled to Australia to view the course with Bettini in July. Italian champion Giovanni Visconti (ISD-Neri) was another member of that advance party and his consistency over the summer meant that he was always likely to feature as the second leader in Bettini’s plans.
Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone) viewed the course with Pozzato and Visconti and as expected he will carry out the role of regista, or road captain, conveying Bettini’s instructions during the race. Paolini is particularly well-known to Bettini as the duo rode together at Quick Step.
However, there is no place for the fourth member of Bettini’s July reconnaissance team, Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo). Instead, the Italian team lines up without a pure sprinter on what is felt to be a more testing course than first thought. It is anticipated that Nibali will be given the freedom to go on the attack and force a selection, along with debutante Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-Farnese Vini).
In keeping with his predecessor the late Franco Ballerini’s philosophy, Bettini has been sure to fill his team with solid domestiques who will work for the nominated leader rather than nurture their own ambitions. Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Doimo) makes his first Worlds appearance and he joins Marzio Bruseghin (Caisse d’Epargne), Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step) and Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) in keeping tabs on Pozzato’s rivals right up to the final laps.
Bettini also named two reserves, Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R) and Andrea Tonti (Carmiooro), while Pinotti will also compete in the time trial.
Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo), Luca Paolini (Acqua & Sapone), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-Farnese Vini), Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Doimo), Marzio Bruseghin (Caisse d’Epargne), Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step), Giovanni Visconti (ISD-Neri and Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia).
Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R) and Andrea Tonti (Carmiooro NGC).
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