Pozzato should lead Italy at London Olympics, says Scinto

Farnese Vini-Selle Italia manager Luca Scinto has backed Filippo Pozzato to lead the Italian team at the London 2012 Olympics and even tipped him as a possible winner of the Tour of Lombardy.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport about his team’s objectives for the remainder of the season, Scinto said that his greatest wish was that Pozzato could triumph in London on July 28.

“Above all, I’m hoping for Pozzato at the Olympics,” Scinto said. “If there’s an Italian who can climb onto the top step of the podium in London, it’s him. And I’ll go beyond that: Pippo – this year’s Pippo – can even win the Tour of Lombardy.”

Pozzato joined Scinto’s squad on a one-year contract after a non-descript end to his spell at Katusha. The man from Sandrigo rediscovered his verve of old under Scinto’s tutelage this spring, and came agonisingly close to victory at the Tour of Flanders.

In spite of crashing out of Paris-Roubaix, Pozzato entered the Giro d’Italia on a high after securing his first win of the season at the GP Larciano, but another fall on stage 9 forced him out of the Giro with a fractured wrist.

“Pippo was in form and I don’t agree with those who say that he was a disappointment at the Giro,” Scinto said. “The stages suited to him had yet to come.”

Pozzato resumed training this week and is set to return to action within the next two weeks.

In spite of Pozzato’s crash, Scinto’s men still picked up two stage wins at the Giro, through Matteo Rabottini and Andrea Guardini. Rabottin triumphed at Pian dei Resinelli after a lengthy solo break, while Guardini delivered a comprehensive sprint win over Mark Cavendish at Vedelago in the third week.

Guardini had scarcely been able to contest a bunch sprints in the Giro’s opening two weeks, but when an opportunity finally came his way on stage 18, he made no mistake.

“The opening stages were over distances of around 200km and it would just have been good to see him there for the sprint,” Scinto said. “But over 140-150km, without climbs, Andrea has no rivals in a sprint. The Vedelago stage was made to measure for him, so it didn’t surprise to see him beat Cavendish. His greatest victory was to make it that far, after 18 stages, after getting over the mountains without finishing outside the time limit.”

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