Pozzato’s year of discontent continues with two fractures
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Pozzato’s year of discontent continues with two fractures

by Shane Stokes at 4:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
Italian rider’s troubled season with Katusha continues

Filippo PozzatoFollowing a disappointing Classics campaign plus recent tension with his Katusha team, Filippo Pozzato’s difficult 2011 has continued with a bad crash during yesterday’s final stage of the Tour of Belgium. The 29 year old came down with ten kilometres to go, touching off another rider and coming to grief. He hit a barrier by the roadside and fractured his left clavice plus also the radius of his left wrist.

The Italian was quickly taken to hospital and last night was due to be transported to a clinic in Brescia, where he would undergo operations in order to help speed the recovery times. It’s clear, though, that he will be out of action for some time.

Pozzato is the Russian team’s leader for the Classic races and is expected to also perform in other key events. He was fifth in Milan-Sanremo this year, but then failed to show well in the Northern Classics; he was just 38th in the Tour of Flanders, and then crashed out of Paris-Roubaix.

That prompted some harsh words from team manager Serge Parsani earlier this month. “It's not easy for him, but he must examine his conscience,” he told La Voix du Nord. "He is not happy, but he must know that the team is not pleased with his results. He’s not the thirtieth rider in our hierarchy; he’s the leader. If he’s not in condition then all of his teammates' work goes up in smoke.”

As an expression of its discontent, the team passed him over for selection in his home race, the Giro d’Italia, where he took a stage win last year. He responded by netting second on a stage and third overall in the Tour de Picardie, but learned nonetheless that he would not be riding the Tour de France; instead, the team has said that it will select Russians only for the squad.

Pozzato started well with the team in 2009, winning the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen, the Giro del Veneto and the Italian championships, netting second in Paris-Roubaix and fifth in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Last year was quieter, even if he took that Giro stage win, was fourth in the world road race championships and seventh in Paris-Roubaix.

He has been accused of following wheels rather than attacking. Last Autumn, general manager Andrei Tchmil said he wasn’t happy. “Pozzato has so much talent but he lacks something,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “You could call it grinta. I am sick when I see what opportunities he has squandered.”

He said that it was necessary to be harder on him. “Pippo needs a rider like myself or Museeuw in the team; someone who could pull his ears. We are considering hiring Mario Cipollini to be a mentor or adviser to give Pozzato better support.”

Cipollini did indeed come on board as a consultant to the team, but Pozzato said that he didn’t want to work with him and that he was able to motivate himself.

His contract is due to end this season, and it appears extremely unlikely that he will continue with Katusha. A fresh start is something that he probably needs in order to get his career back on track; yesterday's crash will underline the feeling that things just aren't working out in 2011.


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