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The Italian national coach was very outspoken when commenting on his pre-selection for the Italian national squad ahead of the World road Championships.

Photo: Sirotti

DAMIANO CUNEGO

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FILIPPO POZZATO

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LUCA PAOLINI

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PAOLO BETTINI

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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31.07.2013 @ 11:21 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Last weekend Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) rode his first competitive race in nearly two months since winning the Giro d’Italia and was unceremoniously drop on the opening, mountainous stage of the Tour de Pologne. However, that does not cause concern for Italian national coach Paolo Bettini ahead of the World road Championships to be held in Florence, Italy, in September.

 

Following his Giro-triumph, Nibali took a month off before resuming training, and Saturday’s opening stage in the Tour de Pologne saw the Sicilian struggle on the slopes of the first ascents of the race as he finished more than 9 minutes down on stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida).

 

Worse was to follow for Nibali who trails race leader Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) by more than 31 minutes after the first three stages. Still, Paolo Bettini remains unconcerned.

 

“As far as Nibali and the World road Championships is concerned, I have no worries,” Bettini told Gazzetta dello Sport. “The Worlds are still two months away and I would have more reason to be worried if Nibali were able to follow the best riders in the Tour de Pologne at this juncture.”

 

Bettini also spoke about other possible candidates for the Italian squad and had some harsh words for some established names.

 

“Luca Paolini is a veteran in whom I can place my trust,” Bettini added. “Filippo Pozzato, on the other hand, must come out of his hibernation as soon as possible.”

 

Bettini also didn’t pull his punches when speaking about the prospects of Ivan Basso (Cannondale) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) making it into the Italian line-up for the World on Italian home soil.

 

“Neither of them is on my provisional selection list of 18 riders,” Bettini declared.

 

The UCI World road Championships take place from September 22 – 29.

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