On Monday's early afternoon (local Time) Italy's national coach, and former rider, Franco Ballerini issued the name list of the 14 guys (two reserves included) that will be part of the National Squad in the Elite Men's Road Race at the coming World Championships in Zolder, Belgium.
According to many, with red hot favorite Mario Cipollini in the line-up Italy is the team to watch out for at the Worlds. But once more the big task for "Ballero" and the riders will be trying to set up a united team and avoid the too frequent tendencies to ride against each other that became a constant feature of the "Squadra Azzurra, particularly in recent years (ask Paolo Lanfranchi for reference ...).
The "Daily Peloton" will be covering Italy's build-up for the Worlds with news, analysis and interviews, starting from a first, more in-depth analysis of the selected riders, to come soon on this site.
In the meantime, here are the names of the 14 pro riders who will take the plane to Zolder.
Daniele Bennati (Acqua & Sapone - Cantina Tollo),
Lorenzo Bernucci (Landbouwkrediet - Colnago),
Paolo Bettini (Mapei - Quick Step),
Gianluca Bortolami (Tacconi Sport - Emmegi),
Davide Bramati (Mapei - Quick Step),
Mario Cipollini (Acqua & Sapone - Cantina Tollo),
Danilo Di Luca (Saeco - Longoni Sport),
Giovanni Lombardi (Acqua & Sapone - Cantina Tollo),
Daniele Nardello (Mapei - Quick Step),
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo),
Fabio Sacchi (Saeco - Longoni Sport),
Luca Scinto (Mapei - Quick Step),
Mario Scirea (Acqua & Sapone - Cantina Tollo),
Matteo Tosatto (Fassa Bortolo)
Coach Ballerini didn't elaborate on who the two reservs will be, but they should logically go under the names of "rookies" Bennati and Bernucci.