Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) opened his account for 2013 with his third Trofeo Laigueglia victory on Saturday and afterwards the Italian said that he has rarely prepared more assiduously for the spring classics.
Pozzato’s 2012 season was interrupted by a three-month suspension during the summer after he confessed to having been trained by Dr. Michele Ferrari between 2005 and 2009. He returned to action at Milan-Turin in September and left Farnese-Selle Italia for Lampre during the off-season.
“From when I started back training on November 15 all the way through to Paris-Roubaix, I’ll be preparing myself seriously and conscientiously,” Pozzato told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I feel even better than I did a year ago, when my broken collarbone hindered me going into the northern classics.
“People keep thinking that I’m a playboy, maybe because I tweet when I go out for dinner with my friends and not when I’m out training alone at Christmas.”
Pozzato pointed to his reconnaissance of the finale of the Trofeo Laigueglia on the eve of the race as an indication of his devotion to his craft. Already a winner in Laigueglia in 2003 and 2004, Pozzato left nothing to chance in the closing kilometres, and delivered a fine sprint to take the spoils.
“My plan was to attack 2.5km from the finish, but Mauro Santambrogio went before I did,” Pozzato said. “I didn’t think twice, and Diego Ulissi and I threw ourselves into the pursuit and then Francesco Reda joined us. In the sprint, I led from the front.”
Pozzato’s list of objectives in the coming weeks have a familiar ring, beginning with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad next Saturday, and so too does his list of rivals – Cancellara, Boonen and Gilbert on the cobbles, and Mark Cavendish at Milan-San Remo. “Everybody’s been saying he’s very thin; I’d say he’s very strong,” Pozzato said of the Manxman.
Pozzato served a three-month ban for his links to Dr. Ferrari last year, and he said he was irritated by the current climate of suspicion in cycling. “It makes me angry that there are riders paying for old faults even though they had nothing to do with that system and those errors,” he said. “Today there’s a new, clean generation. But convincing people of this change isn’t up to me.”
Pozzato was more enthusiastic in welcoming Max Sciandri to the role of coach of the Italian national team. Currently a directeur sportif at BMC, Sciandri is expected to be handed the role in the coming weeks.
“Max was always my idol and I’m not saying that because now he’s a candidate to be national coach,” Pozzato told Gazzetta. “I supported him because everybody expected him to win and he never did. Like what happens to me. But not always.”