National champs round-upClose
A busy weekend of national championship action sees Paolo Bettini and Michael Boogerd win their secoPIC BY TDWSPORT.COM The Spanish may have missed out, but national road race championships did take place across Europe on Sunday, with Paolo Bettini the biggest name to win a title. The Quick Step rider took the Italian championship for the second time as he came home at the front of a lead group of 10 riders, with Mirko Celestino second and Danilo Di Luca third. "It was an important win for me because it comes in one of my best seasons of my career," said Bettini. "I'll take a month off now and then I will focus on the world championships in Salzburg." The weekend's other big name winner was Michael Boogerd, who took the Dutch title for the third time. The Rabobank man beat Sebastian Langeveld and Karsten Kroon. The Bouygues Telecom team were outwitted on a tough circuit in their home Vende region by Caisse D'Epargne's Florent Brard, who soloed to victory ahead of Thomas Voeckler and Didier Rous. "It's a dream for me," said Brard, who has also been confirmed in his team's Tour selection. T-Mobile missed out once again in the German championship. After Gerald Ciolek last year, this season's title went to the unheralded Dirk Dirk Mller of the Frankfurt clubs. He beat Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile) and Jens Voigt (CSC) to the main prize. Veteran Nico Eeckhout (Chocolade Jacques) launched his final attack from 30km out to beat youngsters Philippe Gilbert (Franaise des Jeux) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step). In Switzerland, Phonak's Grgory Rast finished in top spot ahead of Marcel Strauss and Aurlien Clerc, while CSC picked up their only title of the weekend in Denmark, where Allan Johansen beat Troels Vinther and team-mate Nicki Sorensen. Roger Hammond was denied another British title by Jartazi's Hamish Haynes, with Geraint Thomas finishing in third place.