Italian national coach Paolo Bettini has confirmed the Elite men’s team for the world championships, giving sprinters Daniele Bennati and Sacha Modolo key roles but insisting that Italy will be ready to go on the attack and blow apart the race if necessary.
As widely expected, Bettini selected Manuel Belletti and Sacha Modolo (Colnago-CSF), Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek), Oscar Gatto and Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini- Neri), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-ISD), Daniel Oss and Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale), Luca Paolini (Katusha) and Matteo Tosatto (Saxo Bank-SunGard).
Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad) and Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) have been selected to ride the time trial. The nine riders that start the race will be decided just before the event on Sunday September 25.
“Our mentality for the road race will be ‘All for one and one for all,’ and we’ll be ready for anything,” Tuttobiciweb reported him as saying at the official announcement in Milan.
“I’m not convinced that it will be a big bunch sprint. The course is hard and it’ll be a nervous race. The circuit is a lot like Madrid in 2005 but it’ll be more technical because we’ll be on narrower roads. The finish is slightly uphill after 266km of racing and so will be hard.
“I followed the Canadian races closely and Gilbert impressed me, I think he’s the big favourite. We’ve also got to watch out for Peter Sagan, the Spanish team that has Freire and the USA who have Farrar. Cavendish will be part of a team of eight and not three like in Australia, so Great Britain will have to do their bit in the race too. Australia looks a very united team, Denmark will be dangerous on home roads and then Hushovd is a lone wolf who will be as dangerous as ever.”
The Italian team traditionally tries to dominate the racing, putting two riders in each major attack and then forcing a selection at a key moment of the race. Bennati will be the Italian team’s protected sprinter but team coach Bettini will not ride a defensive race.
“We’ll decide on our tactics but as I love to say, if we need to blow the race apart, then we’ll do it,” he said.
Bettini revealed that Filippo Pozzato called him and told him he was not available for selection. The Katusha rider struggled to find his best form after his nasty crash at the Tour of Belgium and apparently also has some problems with his team.
“Pozzato was under special consideration but he called me and said: ‘Before you call me, I wanted to call you and say that I don’t deserve to be picked.’ I think that was the gesture of a campione and of a real man.”
Bronzini leads women’s team, no Guardini in Under 23 squad
The Italian women’s team will be lead by 2010 world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Colavita Forno d'Asolo), with Monia Baccaille and Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini Giambenini), Noemi Cantele (Garmin-Cervelo), Elena Cecchini (Colavita Forno d'Asolo), Elisa Longo Borghini (Top Girls) and Valentina Scandolara (Gauss). The final eight riders and the two reserves will be named on Friday. Cantele and Longo Borghini will ride the time trial.
Surprisingly, Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Neri) has not been selected for the Italian Under 23 team. The 22 year-old sprinter has won 11 races this year and is eligible for the Under 23 races because he rides for a Professional Continental and not a WorldTour team. However, the Italian selectors deemed that the rising finish did not suit his characteristics.