Bettini Wins World Road Race
The Olympic road race champion is now the world road race champion.
the group. At the summit of the Gscheiderberg, the break led the bunch by 0:55. The Spaniards and the Belgians, however, led the pursuit, and the gap was down to 0:30 at the end of Lap 10.
The Belgians and the Dutch drove the bunch. With 40 km remaining, the bunch caught the break. A number of unsuccessful attacks ensued. With 30 km left, Bettini and Fabian Wegmann (Germany) escaped. The peloton caught the pair, but Davide Rebellin (Italy) and David Loosli (Switzerland) countered. Sylvain Chavanel (France) joined the pair, with the bunch never more than 0:10 behind.
With 20 km left, the trio was caught. Sylvain Calzati (France), Guido Trenti (United States), and Efimkin escaped but were caught. Michael Boogerd (The Netherlands) countered a move by Alessandro Ballan (Italy), and many of the favorites joined the Dutchman.
Paolini led Bettini up the Gscheiderberg, and Karsten Kroon and Boogerd (The Netherlands), Wegmann (Germany), Alexander Vinokourov (Kazakhstan), and David Millar (Great Britain) followed. The peloton, which had been reduced to about 40 riders, caught the escapees on the descent. Pozzato, Rebellin, Millar, and Stefan Schumacher (Germany) made escape attempts, but to no avail.
With 700 m left, on the last corner of the race, Samuel Sanchez and Valverde (both from Spain), Zabel (Germany), and Bettini got a gap. Sanchez led out Valverde, who attacked from 400 m out. Zabel and Bettini responded, and Zabel took the lead with 200 m left. With 100 m remaining, the German looked like a winner, but Bettini overtook him in the last 50 m.
Paolo Bettini is one of the world?s greatest one-day riders. He has had other opportunities to become world champion, most notably at Lisbon in 2001, but today the Italian got over the hump. By his own reckoning, the only major target that he has to aim at is the Tour of Flanders. The Tour of Flanders, however, will not take place until next April. The Championship of Zurich will take place next Sunday, and Bettini will wear his rainbow jersey at that race. How will he fare? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!