Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bettini: Sprinters Wanted for World Championship

AAA sprinter wanted urgently. Candidates with references (results in races above 250 km). What may seem like a joke is a bit of the state of mind of Paolo Bettini after spending Thursday and Friday analyzing the World Championship course in Copenhagen. "It is not as tough as the last two years, but harder than Zolder 2002 where Chipollini won", said Bettini. The race takes place September 25, 2011.

Bettini believes that the medals will be decided in a group sprint to the finish line at the top of Geels Hill. "It'll be a large groupe sprinting for gold after a very long race. It'll end with a powerful sprint for riders with great stamina and great power. Nobody wins the WC by coincidence and you'll have to be very well prepared", Bettini explained. "It is not an easy sprint. First of all it is uphill, and prior to that the pace will be accelerated in the last kilometers before the hill. It'll be extremely important to have two riders at the front, leading out the sprint".

For the time being the candidates for the role of team captain are two: Alessandro Petacchi and Daniele Bennati. Petacchi is more reliable but will be 37 years old in January. Bennati is 29 years old but coming off of two difficult seasons.

The third name that excites the imagination of C.T. Bettini is that of Francesco Chicchi, former world champion in U23 at Zolder in 2002. Bettini, however, believes the powerful Quick Step sprinter has yet to be able to prove that he can be competitive at more than 180 km, his current limit in races (the WC course is 280 km).

Behind these are good Italian sprinters but with two flaws: lack of international experience in big races and a guarantee that they could compete with the likes of Cavendish, Farrar, Greipel, Hushovd (current World Champion), and Freire. Bettini also observed that Matti Breschel will be very motivated to take the Gold medal on home soil.

Bettini, speaking in Italian, in Copenhagen:

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