Italians must impress Ballerini for Worlds selection
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Italians must impress Ballerini for Worlds selection

by Steve Jones at 7:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Italian Danilo Di Luca will try to earn a spot on Italy's World Championship team when he takes the start at the Giro del Veneto on Sunday, according to news agency Ansa.

Di Luca won the race back iin 2002 and will try to repeat his previous success to gain a spot in the World Championships in Varese next month. 

Italian selector Franco Ballerini has had problems with the depth of the Italians in the past. Most notable was in 2004 when an on form Davide Rebellin sought an Argentine passport to gain entry into the World Championship race. 

By the time selection for the Worlds team came along Rebellin was leading the World Cup and had won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Amstel Gold Race, and La Fleche Wallone Classics.  The story had an unhappy ending when the UCI refused to recognize the riders temporary passport from Argentina.

After a silver medal in the Olympic road race Rebellin looks to have his spot on the Squadra Azzurra set in stone.  It's been 40 years since Italy has won the World Championships on home turf, so the pressure is on for Ballerini.  "This is not a Worlds for sprinters," Ballerini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.  The former Paris-Roubaix winner thinks the race will be harder than it seems, and if you have the legs in the last 7 kilometers, that is where you can make a move.


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