Italy names powerful Worlds squad
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Italy names powerful Worlds squad

by Ben Atkins at 11:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships

Damiano Cunego, Ivan Basso and Alessandro Ballan will lead a strong Italian team at the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland later this month. Despite Ballan being the reigning World champion, national coach Franco Ballerini expects double Vuelta a España stage winner Cunego – who took the silver medal behind Ballan last year – to be the team captain on the hilly Swiss circuit.

Despite the Italian media focusing its attention on Cunego, Ivan Basso is also currently enjoying a successful Vuelta, sitting in 4th place just 1:2 behind leader Alejandro Valverde. Basso hails from just outside Varese – the venue of last year’s championships, which is just across the Italian-Swiss border from Mendrisio, and so should enjoy a great deal of local support.

“The nation has some good strength in its team,” said Ballerini. “All of the athletes are very good. Until the Vuelta we had the men capable of working, but were lacking men capable of exploiting that work. Now we have some arrows that, if fired correctly, can hit the target. Particularly Damiano Cunego has demonstrated that he has great condition and is an excellent spearhead to our team.”

Stefano Garzelli will be the captain on the road: "An athlete of large experience, with a strong character, that is necessary in the team," emphasized Ballerini, adding: "It will be necessary to be attentive during race to be able to deal with all eventualities. We can fear, besides the Spanish team, some individuals like Fabian Cancellara, who doubles his strength when he races at home, and [Philippe] Gilbert. Andy Schleck, without [his brother] Franck, I do not consider dangerous, without underestimating him".

The eleven will be reduced to the final starting nine riders on the eve of the World Championships.

The sole Italian to ride the individual time trial will be Marco Pinotti of Team Columbia-HTC. "Marco is a man of great experience that, after an excellent time trial at the Tour of the Missouri, has shown to have excellent condition".

Italy road race team:
Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-NGC)
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC)
Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-NGC)
Filippo Pozzato (Katusha)
Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone-Caffe Mokambo)
Luca Paolini (Acqua e Sapone-Caffe Mokambo)
Ivan Basso (Liquigas)
Giovanni Visconti (Team ISD)
Michele Scarponi (Diquigiovanni Androni)
Mauro Santambrogio (Lampre-NGC)
Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step)

Time trial:
Marco Pinotti (Team Columbia-HTC)


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