Filippo Ganna, Elia Viviani and other key members of the men’s Italian track team are expected to begin their 2024 season at the Tour Down Under in Australia before riding the track Nations Cup in Adelaide on February 2 as key preparation and qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Ganna will anchor the team pursuit squad on the track and also ride the individual time trial in Paris, but the competition schedule means he cannot also ride the road race. Ganna has already confirmed that he will ride the Giro d’Italia and miss the Tour de France so that he can be at his best for Paris.
Italy won the men’s team pursuit in Tokyo in 2021 and wants to make up for recent defeats to Denmark in Paris.
“My big goal for the season is the Olympics. I’ll do the Giro d’Italia but not the Tour de France,” he confirmed last week at the Giro d’Italia route presentation before starting his off-season.
Viviani is targeting the track with the Omnium and Madison, his possible goals in his final appearance at the Olympics. The two Ineos Grenadiers riders are likely to be joined in Australia by Manlio Moro, who will ride for Movistar in 2024 and perhaps Jonathan Milan and Simone Consonni, who have still to finalise their race programmes after their move to Lidl-Trek for 2024.
The Italian women’s track squad faces a similar track and road conundrum, with Elisa Balsamo, Chiara Consonni, Martina Fidanza and Martina Alzini having to combine racing with their professional teams and the national squad.
Italian national track coach Marco Vila highlighted the difficulty of combining a WorldTour road race programme with Olympic ambitions as he revealed the path to the Paris Olympics for the Italian track riders.
“The road and track are incompatible. Ganna will ride the team pursuit and the time trial. There is more of a chance for the women to race more because the road race is scheduled for Saturday (July 27), and the team pursuit starts on the Tuesday after.”
The Italian national team will hold training camps in Sicily in mid-November and December and do track work in four-day blocks in Italy, including one between Christmas and New Year. The WorldTour riders will also have to combine their national squad training with their WorldTour team training camps.
The European Championships Netherlands between January 10-14 will be a key test for the Italian national track team, but the Tour Down Under is held at the same time.
“Viviani, Ganna Moro won’t ride the European Championships because they’ll probably have left for the Tour Down Under. But Ineos and Movistar have already given the okay for them to ride the Nations Cup,” Villa told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Milan and Consonni are talking to their team about their programme, and we’ll soon know if they’ll ride the European Championships or also ride the Tour Down Under. The women should all be in the Netherlands.”
La Gazzetta dello Sport suggested that Ganna will ride Milan-San Remo (March 16) and Paris-Roubaix (April 7) before again switching to the track for the Nations Cup event in Milton, Canada, between April 12-14, the final Nations Cup before the Paris Olympics. The likes of Milan and Balsamo could do the same.
“I hope to have the best riders for the men’s and women’s team pursuits for Canada. They come after the Classics but before any training for the men’s Giro d’Italia,” Villa said.
Results from the 2023 World Championships and the best two results in Nations Cup events from 2023 and 2024 are vital for Olympic qualification.
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