As the list of announced teams grows for the upcoming Motocross of Nations, the Italian team was announced and fairly unsurprisingly the soon to be ex-world champion Tony Cairoli was not on the list. The call up is headed by former EMX300 champ Samuele Bernardini and the all-but-unknown Michele Cervellin and Ivo Monticelli. It's a long way from a team that usually contains two world champions in Cairoli and David Philippaerts, and the three Italian riders will be doing well to reach the B final, let alone the three big races on Sunday this year.

The motocross of Nations has rarely been a good event for Tony Cairoli. Apart from his stunning performance in Matterley back in 2006, the Sicilian star has had little luck, from late arriving bikes packed with contraband salami, to start line wipeouts and snapped handlebars. Even last year when he was on sparkling form a crash in the wave section on the Latvian circuit ended any hopes of glory. So although Cairoli will ride the USGP a week before, it appears to be largely a PR exercise for KTM rather a meaningful return to racing at the final round. If TC222 is in France he'll be in the Red Bull hospitality area or giving a pep talk to his team mates rather than slipping on his Sidi's to compete.

With Jeffrey Herlings out of action too, KTM's hopes for glory at the event may lie fairly firmly with the British squad with two of the three on orange machinery and if Shaun Simpson and Dean Wilson can be helped to victory by Max Anstie then they'll forgive him for being on a Kawasaki.

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Images: Ray Archer