Bettini critical of Italians ahead of World Championships
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bettini critical of Italians ahead of World Championships

by Samuel Morrison at 7:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Fall Classics, World Championships
National coach, Paolo Bettini criticises Italians ahead of Worlds for underestimating rivals

The Italians stand no chance of winning their 20th World title October 3 in Geelong, Australia, if they underestimate their rivals, according to National Director Paolo Bettini.

Bettini observed the Tre Valli Varesine yesterday in Varese, where Ireland's Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions) attacked Italian Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago) for the win.

"I have not forgotten about trade team tactics, but its upsetting when the Italians control the race too much and leave it open to foreigners," Bettini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"As I said after the GP Camaiore [where Slovenian Kristjan Koren beat Italian Giovanni Visconti - ed], you have to know your rivals. You cannot let a rider like Martin have an advantage. He won the Tour of Poland 10 days ago; you know that he is one of the strongest men in the world at the moment. I am not saying we gave him the win, because he is strong, but we made his life easier."

Pozzovivo started the final attack, but Martin over-powered him on the uphill finish. Italy's Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini), who led the Italian team at the Worlds last year in Mendrisio, mounted a desperate chase.

"For the Worlds, I need the true Damiano and not a Damiano at 50 per cent. He tried, but in his heyday he would have had a lot of fun on a final like that."

Bettini wil have more time to observe Damiano and other riders as he plans to name the Italian national team mid-September, near the end of the Vuelta a España. Today, he wil follow the Coppa Agostoni and tomorrow, the Coppa Bernocchi.

He wants to see some results from his potential riders.

"It upsets me if they are losing races like this," Bettini added. "Without the results it becomes more difficult to assign the roles [for the national team], because when you don't make mistakes you fit more easily in the team."

The Italian team will meet August 20 in Milan and then travel together the next day to Australia. Bettini visited last month to preview the course with cyclists Filippo Pozzato, Luca Paolini, Daniele Bennati and Giovanni Visconti.

It was his first official trip as the national director as he took over the role June 23. Former sports director, Franco Ballerini died from injuries suffered in a rally car crash February 7 in Larciano, Italy.

Bettini was only partially ready to take the role from Ballerini. Besides winning two titles and one Olympic gold, he assisted Ballerini at last year's Worlds in Mendrisio, Switzerland.


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