Paolo Bettini crashes in Milan Six

Smashes helmet open on security barrier

Italian road cycling great Paolo Bettini was taken to hospital on Tuesday after crashing and hitting his head on a security barrier during the Six Days of Milan track festival, it was reported by ANSA.

The 34-year-old, who announced his retirement from road racing in September, was racing in the chaotic two-man Madison event with Spanish veteran Juan Llaneras when he crashed alongside Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych.

Bettini's helmet broke upon impact with a security barrier. His neck and head were immediately immobilised before the emergency services rushed him to the Sacco hospital in Milan.

Initial reports suggest that Bettini, the world champion in 2006 and 2007 who in August lost his Olympic road race title in Beijing, was not seriously injured. However, he would be unlikely to continue in the Six Days, which began Tuesday and was supposed to bring the curtain down on his career.

© AFP 2008

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