Filippo Pozzato won the Herald Sun Classic on Sunday in Buninyong, Australia, one week before he will lead team Italy in the World Championships.

“At the Worlds everything will be more difficult,” said Pozzato, “but I don’t like things that come easy.”

Pozzato figured in a race winning four-man escape with one of the race’s headliners, Swiss Fabian Cancellara. The two worked with Poland’s Maciej Bodmar and Chile’s Carlos Guinez.

The 127-kilometre race took place near Ballarat and 70 kilometres from Geelong, the location of the World Championships. Many national teams in Australia for the World Championships participated as practice ahead of the World Championships.

Pozzato’s win and Cancellara’s fourth place confirmed their status as race favourites for next Sunday’s 262.7-kilometre race. Cancellara will also race for a record fourth time trial title on Thursday.

“I arrived to the race a little tired,” Pozzato said, “I rode here on my bike and so I finished the race with 225 kilometres in my legs.”

After the race, he rode for another 40 kilometres to cover a similar distance as next week’s race.

The Herald Sun Classic was only Pozzato’s second win of the season after a Giro d’Italia stage victory in May. It was a much needed boost for team Italy, who has a strong team but lacks someone who has won one-day races throughout this season.

Besides Pozzato, team Italy has Vuelta a España winner Vincenzo Nibali and Italian Champion Giovanni Visconti as his team’s natural leaders. Today, they raced in white jerseys dedicated to former head coach Franco Ballerini. Ballerini died in a rally car race on February 7.

Great Britain skipped the pre-Worlds race to focus on training near their hotel in Geelong. Mark Cavendish trained for five hours with Jeremy Hunt, who went for an extra hour on his own. David Millar trained specifically for Thursday’s time trial, but is also building to help Cavendish in the road race.

Early in the day, German Trixi Worrack beat Belgian Liesilot Decroix in the women’s race.

Related links

World Championships 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

Italians face Cavendish in pre-Worlds test race

  • David Chadderton

    Buninyong turned out a beautiful almost clear blue sky when most of the world came to the Mount. We’ve had months of cold and wet here, contrary to the last 10 years of drought and were delighted for the Europeans to bask in 15oC and a light breeze. To see 18 Italians drive the peleton through the small town and up the climb past Phil Ligget and Pau Sherwen made us proud to be the cycling capital of Australia. I could ride this course every day, if I had the time and energy; occasionally has to suffice. The Ballarat region is a mountain bike and road bike haven of little traffic, endless gravel roads and many designated sealed and unsealed trails. Fabian Cancellara was great, as expected, the Italians perfect, the spectacle, spectacular, police supervision and control with a rolling road closure superb, GO CADEL. Geelong next Sunday will be even more perfecter, as Dell Boy might say. When I recall Hampshire traffic jams on my cycling there many years ago, I have to pinch myself to find out if I’m dreaming or whether my ride here is as real as it really is. Oh, Cadel trains along the Great Ocean Road; Ha, that IS a road to ride at least once in a lifetime; I do, several times a year. Heaven is in Victoria, guys.