2020 UCI Road World Championships - Live timing and results
In 1968, the Italian men's cycling team won the road race rainbow jersey on home soil at the famous Imola automobile circuit with an epic breakaway by Vittorio Adorni and an exceptional job by all his teammates. Fifty-two years later the UCI World Championship returns to Imola and this year’s courses are deeply inspired by the routes of half a century earlier. Italian cycling has changed radically over the intervening years, witnessing periods of great exploits punctuated by long waits for new champions.
The first decade of 2000 was bright. Giorgia Bronzini was the last Italian road rainbow jersey in 2011 – which she won as defending champion – while her compatriots Tatiana Guderzo and Marta Bastianelli were the previous women’s winners in 2009 and 2007 respectively. Alessandro Ballan became UCI Road World Champion in Varese in 2008 after Paolo Bettini’s double in 2006 and 2007 and before that it was Mario Cipollini’s success in 2002. But after those victories, the Tricolore flag didn’t appear on the podium.
Back in 1968, on 1st September, there were more than 300,000 spectators crowded along the 15.4km of the Tre Monti circuit. Among them were two young Italians who, 52 years later will experience the 2020 UCI World Championships in positions of great responsibility for Italy: Italian national selector Davide Cassani and President of the Italian Cycling Federation and UCI Vice President Renato Di Rocco. We asked them about where Italian cycling stands now...
Davide Cassani was just seven years old in 1968 when, together with his father, he saw Adorni on the penultimate climb of the Tre Monti, about 700 metres from the summit, and that’s when he fell in love with cycling. He returned to those climbs two years later by bike: this passion became not just his work but also an essential part of life.
How do you see the health of Italian road cycling today?
Davide Cassani: It’s a bit complicated regarding stage races because in recent years we have depended on Vincenzo Nibali's results and we are still looking for who could become his eventual successor. There is Giulio Ciccone who is growing very well, but we can see in the current Tour de France how much we are suffering right now.
Nibali was also important in the Monument Classics, with Bettiol winning the Tour of Flanders in 2019...
DC: And apart from Nibali and Bettiol, we can count on excellent riders for one-day races. We recently won the European Championships for the third consecutive year with Giacomo Nizzolo after Matteo Trentin and Elia Viviani, and in 2019 we finished second in the UCI Road World Championships with Trentin.
What are the expectations for the 2020 UCI Road World Championships at Imola?
DC: 2020 was hard for everybody, I hope it won’t be repeated. We only knew about the UCI World Championships a few days ago. I hoped I could have had a better approach, but Davide Formolo broke his collarbone and Ciccone had COVID-19, so I probably lost two riders who could be very important for the national team. The race will be very hard, almost no flat, with 550 metres altitude each lap – the climbs are not long but they are challenging, especially the second with its 1300-metre steep wall. It means that in the end it will become very selective and the favourites could be riders like Julian Alaphilippe, Jakob Fuglsang and Wout van Aert.
Renato Di Rocco
Renato Di Rocco was 21 years old in 1968 and was attending the National School of Sport; during the UCI Road World Championship he was an intern in the Organising Committee, responsible for the media. His family were bike producers under the brand Romeo and they provided the equipment to several riders including Vittorio Adorni. Di Rocco had the honour of raising the Italian flag during the podium ceremony: “I gave the flag to Vittorio on the 40th anniversary, it was very touching,” he said.
How is Italian road cycling in 2020?
Renato Di Rocco: Cycling has become global, yet in Italy we only have one UCI WorldTeam, in the women’s competition. For our fans it could be annoying to often see the foreign riders up front, but many of our athletes have to work for their captains in both the men's and women's first-tier teams.
We restarted the calendar with tough races: Strade Bianche, Milan-Sanremo and Il Lombardia. Italian riders had been among those who sacrificed training on the roads most during lockdown because of government decisions – but since we must first be good citizens and then good athletes, that's okay. Yet we were able to win the European Championships with impressive teamwork and the order of arrival that could very well have been that of a UCI World Championships.
Italy’s female riders are doing well and Italy is a protagonist in the UCI Women’s WorldTour thanks to the Giro Rosa...
RDR: We finished second in the European Championships with Elisa Longo Borghini who showed great personality against the unbeatable Dutch champions. The Giro Rosa is extremely important, there are all the best teams in the world with high-value starters; it’s the most important stage race on the calendar and it runs in postcard landscapes, which can make a difference as well.
How has the Federation dealt with the restart, to help riders in all categories?
RDR: We rolled up our sleeves and restarted well, we tested all the protocols in Imola with the Extra Giro project to reinforce the concept of multidisciplinarity with individual races and time trials within the Autodrome, in Forlì for the track and in Riolo Terme for mountain bike. All categories restarted except, unfortunately, para-cycling – not because of lack of will but because it is difficult to obtain all the authorisations. Given the numerous canceled races, we have authorised an increase in the number of starters on national territory from 176 to 200 and then even over 260 in order not to leave any athlete out.
How much is Italy working on young riders?
RDR: Young people are the ones who have suffered the most, but we tried to help as much as possible as a Federation. We managed to start the Giro Ciclistica Italia for Under 23 riders which is settling as one of the most important in the category and create a new Under-23 team in Emilia-Romagna, thanks to Region President, Stefano Bonacini. We are also promoting an important initiative called 2+Million Kilometres to support the youth cycling movement of the Italian Cycling Federation and the Recreational Therapy activities for children offered by Dynamo Camp. The youth are a symbol of rebirth and hope.