Men's RR - what they said

Bettini, Paulinho, Merckx, Hamilton, Voigt and Voeckler give their perspectives on today's Olympic r

Bettini, Paulinho, Merckx, Hamilton, Voigt and Voeckler give their perspectives on today's Olympic r
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Paolo Bettini (Ita) - Gold: "I want to dedicate this win to my wife Monica and daughter Veronica. My family, my team and God helped me to win the gold medal. To win the Olympics has a special significance. All of the world knows who I am now. It was a very competitive race and the technical course with the bends and the climbs made it very demanding, but there was always an Italian at the front. "I attacked three laps from the end to test the others because I could see that some of them were tired. I told Paulinho to ride hard with me on the last lap because I knew Axel was behind. Luckily we had a good enough gap." Sergio Paulinho (Por) - Silver: "I never imagined I could be silver medallist in the Olympic Games. I just wanted to work to have a good place in the field. It's a dream come true, the best day of my life - an amazing feeling..." Axel Merckx (Bel) - Bronze: "This medal was unexpected, but it was also among my objectives of the year to race well here, so I am extremely happy because I worked very hard for this. This is my career, my success and a bronze medal is a highlight of my career." Tyler Hamilton(USA) -18th: "Considering this was my first race back since abandoning the Tour, it was OK. We didn't get any medals but the team rode aggressively. In fact the race wasn't as hard as I had expected. I thought that there would be a bigger selection and I had expected a smaller group. It would have been nice if Lance (Armstrong) had been here but he chose his family first and we understand that. It's been a hard season for him." Jens Voigt (Ger) - 64th: "I'm not disappointed, not for myself. Our team worked hard and we all did what we could and Erik won the sprint, so we got fourth place. Of course everybody prefers to have a medal but I still think it was a good result for us. We tried to decide the race, we tried to chase down the breaks, so we showed a lot of responsibility but fourth place was all we could get." Jim Ochowicz (USA team coach): "I think Bettini was obviously the strongest rider today, not surprisingly. So he's a good winner, a good Olympic champion. I don't think it was unpredictable to see him do what he did at the end of the race. Our guys were there - they were in all the breaks that counted during the day, right up to the finish and the Bettini move, but otherwise they did a good race. The five-man team does make it a little different for everybody as do all the things that go into making up the teams. It's a bit complicated. I was optimistic for a medal - we thought we had a chance. But I am not disappointed - we did a good race and we showed our colours." Thomas Voeckler (Fra) 20th: "I'm the French national champion racing in the Olympics, so I gave everything to try and get a place on the podium, but no regrets - I did what I could. It would have been nice to take a medal, but it didn't work out that way. Like all the other riders, I think the hot conditions were really hard. Five laps from the finish, I didn't feel good, but I recovered a little. For me this has been a really great year - I won the national title, wore the yellow jersey and then rode in the Olympic team. But the season's not over yet - and I still want to maintain my form. The good news is that my team (Brioches La Boulangre) has a new sponsor (Bouygues Telecom) and that the adventure will continue, so I can concentrate on racing hard, probably until the end of September."

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