Italy has not managed to win one of cycling's Monuments since 2021, when Sonny Colbrelli crossed the finish line at Paris-Roubaix, covered in mud and with his arms in the air, unleashing tears of joy.
The country has had a 2022 without a single Italian cyclist in the top ten in these prestigious one-day races. However, 2023 has shown a glimmer of hope with two second-place finishes by Filippo Ganna and Andrea Bagioli in Milan-Sanremo andIl Lombardia, respectively. To these results can be added Matteo Trentin's tenth place in the Tour of Flanders (after contributing to Tadej Pogacar's victory) and the sixth place of an Ineos-Grenadiers rider in Paris-Roubaix.
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Although for many, Ganna is presented as the main Italian promise for these races, Filippo Pozzato, in an interview with GCN, has mentioned two other names of Italian cyclists who could bring back to Italy the glory of winning a Monument next year:
“Jonathan Milan or Andrea Bagioli. Milan for Milano-Sanremo or Paris-Roubaix. Last year, before Milano-Sanremo, my favourite was Milan but he got sick one week before. I think Milan’s move to Lidl-Trek is good for him. I like Milan a lot, he’s a good guy, a grounded one, he’s not stupid, he’s smart. I’ve seen him doing some sprints that are not normal, and he’s also really young.”
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After an outstanding performance at the end of the season, which included a victory in the Gran Piemonte, a second place in the Lombardia and a third in the Coppa Bernocchi, Bagioli, winner of the Milano-Sanremo in 2006, is ready to play an important role in the classics:
"I was surprised to see Bagioli on the podium at Il Lombardia. I thought he’d be in the first five. I know he’s very strong because I spoke to his coach in the week before.”
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In recent years, Italy has struggled to excel in the big races as it used to. For Pozzato, the reason is simple:
"The level is not good, because we don’t have the members of the federation. For example, in Vicenza, we had a 120-rider union but now we have just 20 riders. With that quantity, it's not possible to get the quality. Great Britain in the past had only two riders and now has one of the best teams in the world. Australia had one rider and now has a WorldTour team. Americans were few and now they have a team too. Everything is globalising and so there are more possibilities for the others but less for Italy."