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Italy’s defending national cyclocross champion, Enrico Franzoi, has opted out of the opportunity to defend his title this weekend, saying that he hopes to recover from a month-old ankle injury in time for the world championships in Treviso.
The 25-year-old Franzoi, who recently moved to the Liquigas team, said lingering problems from an ankle injury suffered during November’s World Cup event in Koksijde, Belgium, will keep him out of this weekend’s Italian national championships in Scorzè, near Venice.
Franzoi said his primary focus has to be on a strong performance in the world championship race, slated for January 27 in Treviso, Italy, where he is expected to be a home crowd favorite.
“I must reluctantly give up racing in the Italian championships, said Franzoi, “with the hope of recovering my form in time for the world championships. With the championships in Italy, it has been my sole objective of the year.”
Despite missing his national championship race, Franzoi has a guaranteed spot on the Italian team, based on the strength of his UCI standings and his bronze medal at the 2007 world’s, where he finished behind Belgian Erwin Vervecken and American Jonathan Page.
Fisher gets world’s help from USGP
Organizers of the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclo-cross have awarded Steve Fisher of Lynnwood, Washington, its 2007 USGP/Clif Bar junior scholarship to offset the costs involved in attending the world cyclocross championships in Treviso, Italy, later this month.
“In partnership with Clif Bar and their commitment to Junior development, we are thrilled to announce that Steve Fisher was selected to receive the Clif Bar juniors scholarship to compete at the World Championships,” said USGP executive director Bruce Fina. “The USGP and Clif Bar are both committed to the growth of the sport of cyclocross in the United States and these junior athletes are the future. We wish Steve the best of luck in Italy.”
Fisher, who rides for Rad Racing under the guidance of coach Dale Knapp, is currently attending the Euro Cross Camp in Belgium, a program coordinated by U.S. national team coach Geoff Proctor.
“Steve comes from a great program in Rad Racing with a great coach (Dale Knapp) and director (Jim Brown),” said Proctor. “Steve repeatedly rode with the front group of elite juniors this year and ultimately finished second to USGP and national champ Luke Keough. In fact, Fisher is the only rider to beat Keough at a national series race this year taking the first day of the Portland USGP.”