Paolo Bettini has opted against bringing an Italian national selection to the Tour de San Luis in January after the idea failed to garner sufficient interest among teams and riders. The 23-team line-up for the race in Argentina was announced on Saturday, with Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Tom Boonen all set to compete.
Bettini has been a proponent of bringing Italian teams to races outside of the world championships since he took over the role of national manager in 2010 and made his debut at that year’s Giro del Veneto. He aimed to select number of young Italian track riders for the trip to Argentina, but soon realised that the interest was not there.
“I’d requested the availability of some young riders, who are almost all involved in the Italian track set-up,” Bettini told Tuttobici. “It seemed fair to offer them this possibility, in the name of interdisciplinarity, which is one of the federation’s main objectives. Unfortunately, the response wasn’t on a par with my enthusiasm. Not everybody realised the importance of the project and so I preferred to give up on it.
“Essentially, I wasn’t comfortable going to Argentina with people who didn’t believe in this trip, so I stopped it. But I’ll take some important lessons from this.”
Meanwhile, the organisers of the Tour de San Luis have announced the 23 squads who will be at the race, which takes place from January 23-29. Ag2r-La Mondiale, Liquigas-Cannondale, Movistar, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Saxo Bank are the WorldTour teams making the trip to South America.
Teams for Tour de San Luis, January 23-29: Ag2r-La Mondiale, Liquigas-Cannondale, Movistar, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Saxo Bank, Andalucía, Androni-Giocattoli, Caja Rural, Farnese Vini, Team NetApp, UnitedHealthcare, Christina Watches-Onfone, Tavira-Prio, San Luis Somos Todos, Funvic, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia.