Shorts: Bettini, World Cup and more

Grieving Bettini to race again this weekend, new race added to 2007 World Cup calendar, Quick Step o

Grieving Bettini to race again this weekend, new race added to 2007 World Cup calendar, Quick Step o

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

Paolo Bettini has decided to return to racing in Saturday's Giro dell'Emilia following the death of his 42-year-old brother Sauro in a car accident earlier this week. "I reached the decision to race after speaking to my relatives about it. In addition, at such a difficult moment my wish is to return to the peloton for my family, for Sauro and to respect the [world champion's] jersey that I am wearing," said Bettini in a statement from his team.

- The 2007 World Cup schedule has been released by the International Cycling Union, with the notable changes the loss of the Spanish GP Castilla y Leon leg and the addition of the Ronde van Drenthe in Holland. Britain's Nicole Cooke will start the defence of her title in Australia in the Geelong GP next March. The full World Cup calendar is:

March 3, Geelong (Australia)
April 8, Ronde van Vlaanderen (Belgium)
April 14, Ronde van Drenthe (Holland)
April 25, Flche Wallonne Fminine (Belgium)
May 13, Tour de Berne (Switzerland)
June 2, Coupe du Monde Montral (Canada)
August 3, Open de Sude Vargarda (Sweden)
August 5, The Ladies Golden Hour (Denmark)
September 1, GP de Plouay (France)
September 16, Rund um die Nrnberger Altstadt (Germany)

- Quick Step have announced a change of frame supplier for 2007, with Specialized replacing Time as the provider to 2005 world champion Tom Boonen and his successor, Paolo Bettini. The Italian will ride the S-Works Tarmac SL, while Tour of Flanders champion Boonen will opt for the new S-Works Roubaix SL.

"Having Specialized bikes under the world's very best riders with the Quick Step and Gerolsteiner squads will inspire even stronger focus and greater innovation from our engineers, developers and designers," said Specialized founder and president Mike Sinyard. "It shows Specialized dealers worldwide that we are fully committed to making our bikes and equipment the most desirable."

- Eddy Merckx has backed Floyd Landis in his fight against a doping ban for testosterone use, telling Belgium's Het Laatste Nieuws: "I don't think that Floyd Landis used a banned product. The Landis affair is a mistake. I can't be totally sure because I wasn't there."

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