Preview of the Italian Championships
– Reported by Gazzetta dello Sport –
Sunday the Italian National Championships will be raced and the predictions are wide open. For the directors Baldato, Commesso, Bortolami, and Di Luca are the favorites.
MILANO, 28 June 2002 – The harder the course is to decipher, the harder it is to pick a favorite. Because when the roads are a little bit good for everyone, smart climbers or fast men with great form, the race will be harder to predict and interpret. This is the case for the circuit at San Vendemiano the Sunday will be the scene of the Italian National Road Championships. The Tricolor appointment returns to Marca Trevigiana after 17 years for a circuit of 26.4 km that appears to be easy and not selective. But on the 9 laps, to complete 237.6 km, the list of favorites is truly long: the defender Nardello, the rampant Di Luca, Baldato, Petacchi, the national time trial champion Frigo, and the outsiders Commesso and Borolami, showing good from in Switzerland. Instead, there won’t be the Giro winner Salvodelli, Bettini, or Cipollini.
“There are 2 1/2 kilometers of light climbing, that at the finish will be felt – observes Alberto Volpi, technical director of Fassa Bortolo – Without Cipollini and a team that will work for him all day, I see the sprinters being dropped”. That discourse touches Quaranta in particular, the hope of Index-Alluminio who is left without Salvodelli (who became ill after the Tour of Switzerland). “Favorites could be men of experience like our Baldato, Bortolami, and Commesso, who is riding well. Pozzato is in condition, but pays for only being 20 years old”. The rider from Vincente, second in the time trial championshiops behing Frigo, is young, but remains one of the hopes for Mapei-Quick Step, also because of his 10 other wins this year that has seen him emerge as a potential star. “There will be him and Nardello as our protagonists – afferms their director Roberto Damiani – In particular Danielle has the desire to defend the jersey, also because the course isn’t that demanding like the one last year in Carate Brianza”.
Then adds: “Watching in others houses, plans around the likes of Baldato and Petacchi will be more advantagous than something around Francesco Casagrande. The speed of Di Luca we know: he will not be doing the Tour and has a great motivation for the Tricolor jersey that would add luster to his season. A suprise could be Bossoni, who at Carnago, in a 5 class race with good participants, he won well”.
Claudio Corti, team manager for Saeco-Longoni, doesn’t predict a sprint finish. “In a hot and long race, the winners will be the most deserving. We have complete racers and in good condition like Commesso and Sacchi. Di Luca? He is well, he’s not outside of doing a great ride. Among the adversaries we’ll watch Bortolami”. On the roads also will be Andrea Tafi, winner of the Tour of Flanders, Basso, and Celestino. “On could read about ten names that could very plausibly be wearing the jersey Sunday – concludes Bruno Cenghialta, team manager of Alessio – Among these our Moreni, Caucchioli, Casagranda, and Pieri. Sunday I could have six men playing for the victory. Because on a course like this, if a break is let go it’s very possible that it won’t be brought back”.