The “Azzurri” got to Canada at last!!! After last Friday’s team get-together in the town of Salice Terme, more and more gaining the status of “capital city” of Italian cycling, members of Italy’s National Team for the Elite Men’s Road Race, including those back from Paris-Tours, and the relative staff, flied to the New World on Monday.
The first to get to Milan’s Malpensa Airport was Luca Scinto, no longer part of the team as rider, but a fundamental player in Ballerini and Cipollini’s winning game twelve months ago, followed by all other boys of the “Squadra Azzurra”. Destination Toronto, then on to the Ontarian city where the 2003 Road World Championships are set to take place, and where the Italian Team will be staying at the Holiday Inn – Express Hotel, 2525 Wyecroft Road, Oakville, Ontario.
In front of the cameras and microphones of several Italian TV Channels, and even more cheering fans, Paolo Bettini, one of the main stars of the World Championships, was congratulated on his recent World Cup victory, the second in a row.
The Quick-Step rider sounded happy and confident, and made some bold statements such as “We are a strong National team, a good squad that may attack at any time during the race. We do not fear anyone, at the most it’s the others that should worry of our team” As for his personal situation, The Cricket said that “I’m happy to go to Canada with such a big objective: I’d like to return the joy Monica gave me when little Veronica was born. In my bag there’s also the first jersey my baby girl wore, and I hope it may bring good luck”.
After a nine-hour flight, covering 6619 km. Between Milano-Malpensa (actually the airport is located in the Varese province, about 20 miles NW of Milan) and Toronto the “Squadra”, as coach Ballerini is used to call it, finally hit Canadian soil. They received a warm welcome from the Italian National Team personnel already there, headed by Italian Cycling Federation General Secretary Alessandro Pica, and subsequently moved to the Holiday Inn-Express Hotel at Oakville, On.
The Italian Crew in Hamilton
Riders – Elite Men’s Road Race:
Sergio Barbero (Lampre)
Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo)
Paolo Bettini (Quick Step-Davitamon)
Paolo Bossoni (Vini Caldirola-SO.DI.)
Francesco Casagrande (Lampre)
Danilo Di Luca (Team Saeco)
Giovanni Lombardi (Domina Vacanze-Elitron)
Cristian Moreni (Alessio)
Daniele Nardello (Team Telekom)
Andrea Noe' (Alessio)
Luca Paolini (Quick Step-Davitamon)
Fabio Sacchi (Team Saeco)
Mario Scirea (Domina Vacanze-Elitron)
Luca Mazzanti (Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo)
Riders – Elite Men’s Individual Time Trial:
Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo)
Italian Cycling Federation Managers:
Giancarlo Ceruti (President of the ICF)
Emilio Farulli (Vice President of the ICF)
Maurizio Camerini (Federal Adviser)
Alessandro Pica (Secretary General)
Chief of Staff:
Claudio Santi (Pros)
Giorgio Elli (Amateurs)
Franco Ballerini (Commissario Tecnico Professionisti)
Antonio Fusi (Direttore Tecnico Dilettanti)
Enrico Della Casa
Other Staff Members:
Gianni Seghetti (Radio)
Piero Falorni (Team Chef)
Marino Fusar Poli
Michele Del Gallo,
Dario Frigo’s first test: It’s hard here!!!: While the Road Race guys have arrived in Canada on Monday only, the ITT specialist has been in Hamilton for a few days. And taking advantage of road closure of the circuit, the only Elite Men representing Italy in the "race of the truth" had a two-hour training session, covering four laps of the 20.8-km. circuit.
At the end of the test, Frigo said that “The Race course is hard and selective. The first ascent, coming right after the start, is made even harder by the fact that, after you peak, you won’t find the “usual” descent, but a long piece with the route continuously going up and down. And you’ll really have to push on the gas pedal there. The second climb is demanding too, and with no reference points. And the asphalt in bad conditions, with many junctions, throughout the whole route. It’s not easy to achieve high speed there. I think I’ll be using 44 to the 54 in the front wheel, and 11 to 21 in my rear wheel. I did expect the route to be that difficult anyway. The race will be wide open”.
Teenage girls to kick-off the Worlds, U23 Men to follow: As usual, the Road World Championships will start on Tuesday, with the Junior Women’s Individual Time Trial. Eighteen and nineteen-year-old girls will get on their bikes (the first ones at 11 Hours AM Local Time) and go for the very first Rainbow Jersey.
Last year the race was dominated by the Italian ladies, with Anna Zugno scoring a winning time of 15'54"21 and Tatiana Guderzo coming in second about 06" behind. Neither of the Zolder medallists will be at the start line today anyway, as the two girls representing the “Squadra Azzurra” in Hamilton are Chiara Nadalutti (GS Top Girls, born at Gemona del Friuli on March 03, 1985, 20 wins so far in her career ) and National Champion Laura Bozzolo (Ju Sport-Gorla Minore, born in Albenga on September 08, 1985),
Soon after the end of the Junior Women ITT, he time will come for the Under 23 Men to race against the clock. In the competition won by Lithuania’s Tomas Vaitkus in 2002 (and American Danny Pate twelve months before), Italy will be fielding two guys from Veneto: Tiziano Dall’Antonia (20-year-old, G.S. Zalf Desiree Fior, 15 wins in his palmares, including Veneto’s regional title in 2003) and Elia Rigotto (21, Velo Club Bassano 1892, 32 wins so far in hs career) both training over the parcours on Monday morning. Rigotto spent about an hour training all by himself, then joined the rest of the team crew.
Also the U23 Road Race boys and the Elite Women tasted the route. Under the glance of their Team Coach Antonio Fusi, the men covered 95 kilometres, just in order to know the roads and their “secrets” better. The Elite Women ITT girls, coached by former professional rider Rosario Fina, mad a tune-up work for about two and a half hours.
Infos courtesy of the Italian Cycling Federation (Federazione Ciclistica Italiana) Press Office, translated and edited, with the addition of further comments, by Fabio.
Check the 2003 WORLDS MAIN PAGE for everything you need to know on the ongoing Road World Championships: details, news, results, interviews, rider and team profiles, and much, much more ...