Bettini Wins World Road Race
The Olympic road race champion is now the world road race champion.
The Olympic road race champion is now the world road race champion. Paolo Bettini (Italy) claimed the latter honor after winning a sprint at the end of the hilly, 12-lap, 265.8-km race in Salzburg, Austria, the home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Bettini won in 6:15:36. Erik Zabel (Germany) finished second, and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) took third.
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It did not take long for the hostilities to begin. At the gun, Jose Antonio Ramos (Venezuela) attacked. The bunch caught Ramos at the base of the first ascent of the Rennerberg, but Alex Cano Ardila (Colombia) attacked on the Gscheiderberg, and Tyler Farrar (United States) lit out after him. At the end of the first lap, Ardila led Farrar by 0:35 and the peloton by 1:18.
During the second lap, the bunch began to react. Four riders, including Nicolas Roche (Ireland), pursued Ardila and Farrar. Others joined the quartet until a 10-rider chase group formed. The chasers were Roche, Matteo Tosatto and Rinaldo Nocentini (both from Italy), Jurgen Van Goolen (Belgium), Bram De Groot (The Netherlands), Daniel Andonov Petrov (Bulgaria), Luis Perez Rodriguez (Spain), Stephan Schreck (Germany), Alexander Kychinski (Belarus), and Thomas Voeckler (France). They caught Farrar, and at the end of the second lap, the chasers trailed Cano by 1:00. Cano led the peloton by 4:15.
During the third ascent of the Gscheiderberg, the chasers reeled in Cano. The peloton was at 4:20. The escape?s advantage grew to 15:00 by the end of the fourth lap. The Dutch and the Austrians began to chase, but by the end of the sixth lap, the break still led the bunch by 11:00.
The Austrians continued to chase, and the Swiss joined them at the front. The break dropped Cano. By the end of Lap 6, 7:50 separated the bunch from the break.
The Italians began to apply pressure. Marzio Bruseghin and Filippo Pozzato attacked on the Gscheiderberg, and Yaroslav Popovych (Ukraine), Marcel Sieberg (Germany), Nick Nuyens (Belgium), Marlon Alirio Perez (Colombia), and Mart Ojavee (Estonia) joined the pair. On the descent, the peloton caught them, but the Spaniards went to the front. The resulting acceleration reduced the break?s advantage to 4:40 by the end of the seventh lap. One lap later, the lead was further reduced to 2:30.
On the ninth ascent of the Gscheiderberg, the break?s lead was down to about 1:00. Luca Paolini (Italy) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain) had split the peloton with attacks, and world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) attacked on the descent. A chase group of 14 riders merged with the break. The lead group of 25 riders consisted of Roche (Ireland); Tosatto, Danilo Di Luca, Pozzato, and Nocentini (all from Italy); Van Goolen, Stijn Devolder, and Philippe Gilbert (all from Belgium); Petrov (Bulgaria); Luis Perez Rodriguez, Samuel Sanchez, and Carlos Sastre (all from Spain); Schreck (Germany); Voeckler (France); Kychinski (Belarus); De Groot (The Netherlands); Farrar (United States); Cancellara (Switzerland); Stuart O?Grady (Australia); Nicki Sorensen (Denmark); Andrei Kashechkin (Kazakhstan); Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway); Raivis Belohvosciks (Latvia); and Vladimir Efimkin (Russia).