The Italian riders tackling the slopes of Innsbruck at the World Championships later this month have been announced.
Racers featuring in the Italian squad this year include strong climbers like Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali, as well as Team Sky’s Gianni Moscon.
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Climbers are finally being given their shot at the world title, as the course features over 5,000metres of altitude gain.
The Italian coach Davide Cassani has confirmed seven of the eight riders featuring in the squad, reports Gazzetta dello Sport.
A final rider will be selected from a shortlist of four.
Cassani told the Italian newspaper: “Vincenzo is not the man to beat at the World Championship in Innsbruck.
“We must be optimistic. We are not favourites but we can surprise.”
Nibali has been targeting the Worlds, but his hopes may have been dashed after a crash on the Alpe d’Huez stage of this year’s Tour de France.
The Bahrain-Merida rider suffered a broken vertebra on the final slopes of stage 12, but returned to racing at the Vuelta a España.
Also riding in the Italian colours will be Gianni Moscon, who took victory at the Coppa Agostoni on Saturday.
Moscon has just returned to racing after a five-week ban for violent conduct.
Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) has also been named for the Worlds team.
Aru crashed hard on stage 17 of the Vuelta a España after his chain became stuck.
The seven confirmed riders are Aru, Nibali, Moscon, Franco Pellizotti, Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida), Damiano Caruso and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC).
There are also four riders on the shortlist to take the final spot – Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Dario Cataldo (Astana), Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida).
Competition will be stiff in Austria for the men’s road race, with the Yates brothers (Mitchelton-Scott) headlining the British team, and Colombia sending a stacked lineup of climbing talent.
Italian teams for World Championships 2018
Elite men’s road race
Fabio Aru (EAE Team Emirates)
Damiano Caruso (BMC)
Alessandro De Marchi (BMC)
Gianni Moscon (Team Sky)
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)
Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida)
Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida)
plus either Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo)
Dario Cataldo (Astana)
Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe)
or Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida).
Elite mens’s time trial
Alessandro De Marchi (BMC)
Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo)
Elite women’s road race
Sofia Bertizzolo (Astana)
Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5)
Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM)
Erica Magnaldi (BePink)
Soraya Paladin (Alé-Cipollini)
plus two from Tatiana Guderzo (BePink)
Elena Pirrone (Astana)
Nadia Quagliotto (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo)
or Rossella Ratto (Cyclance)