Bettini takes third World Cup title

Paolo Bettini wins the World Cup title for the third year in a row after outlasting Davide Rebellin

Paolo Bettini wins the World Cup title for the third year in a row after outlasting Davide Rebellin
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE There was Italian success all round at this afternoon's Tour of Lombardy, where 23-year-old Damiano Cunego took the first major Classic win of his ever-flourishing career and Paolo Bettini secured his third consecutive World Cup title. Needing to finish within range of Davide Rebellin, Bettini seemed to be losing his grip on the title when he was dropped on the Ghisallo climb as the pace heated up towards the finish. However, it was Rebellin who eventually cracked, falling behind Bettini's group on the last climb of the race, the San Fermo della Battaglia. With Rebellin dropped, all Bettini had to do was finish to take the World Cup title. As Bettini and Rebellin watched each other, what proved to be the decisive break had gone clear on the Civiglio climb before the San Fermo, where Isidro Nozal launched an attack from a small group at the front. The Liberty Seguros rider was then caught by a group near the top of the climb containing the very on-form Ivan Basso and Cunego, as well as T-Mobile duo Cadel Evans and Daniele Nardello, and Michael Boogerd. This group slimmed even further on the San Fermo della Battaglia, where Basso and Boogerd did all they could to shake off anyone with a fast finish, Cunego included. Initially only Evans was able to go with Boogerd and Basso, and these three led over the top of the final climb, with the nippy Cunego not far behind. Cunego got up to the leading trio on the descent towards the finish in Como and looked the odds-on winner until Nardello got across to the leading quartet in the last three kilometres to give T-Mobile a numerical advantage. All of the quintet bar Cunego made an effort to get clear before the finish, with Basso making his final effort inside the last 500 metres. But, as expected, Cunego showed why he was the rider the others had been trying to shake with a decisive sprint for the line, with Boogerd second and Basso third. Evans' good late season form was rewarded with fourth place, his best finish in a World Cup event. 1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Saeco 246km in 6.17.55 (39.06kph) 2 Michael Boogerd (Hol) Rabobank 3 Ivan Basso (Ita) CSC 4 Cadel Evans (Aus) T-Mobile 5 Daniele Nardello (Ita) T-Mobile 0.02 6 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.17 7 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco 8 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 9 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi 10 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Panaria World Cup final standings 1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Davitamon 340 2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 327 3 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 252 4 Erik Dekker (Hol) Rabobank 237 5 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis 186 6 Michael Boogerd (Hol) Rabobank 146 7 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 140 8 Steffen Wesemann (Ger) T-Mobile 131 9 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Saunier Duval 120 10 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile 108
This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
  • Discipline: Road, Mountain, Urban, Womens
  • Location: UK, USA, Australia
Back to top