Bettini wins men's world road title

Angry Italian answers critics with top performance in Stuttgart.

Italy's Paolo Bettini was crowned world champion for the second year in a row after winning the men's race at the world road championships in Stuttgart on Sunday - then promised revenge.

Bettini, who rides for the Quick Step team, dominated a five-man group at the end of the 267km race to leave Alexandr Kolobnev of Russia fighting for second place with Germany's Stefan Schumacher. Kolobnev took the silver medal while Schumacher claimed the bronze.

Luxembourg's Franck Schleck finished in fourth place just ahead of Australian Cadel Evans, a runner-up in this year's Tour de France.

After a stressful week, double world champion Bettini made a gesture pretending to fire a gun as he crossed the line and later said it was his way of shooting back at his critics. Bettini was in tears after his victory, having announced on the eve of the race he intends to sue German television station ZDF for accusing him of providing former teammate Patrik Sinkewitz with doping products. And Bettini only had the all-clear to defend his crown on Friday after a bid by organisers to bar him from the competition, because he would not sign an anti-doping agreement to provide a compulsory blood sample.

"He came, he saw, he conquered," said UCI president Pat McQuaid during the winner's press conference. "Any cyclist who can win a race after the pressure he has been under is a classic and magnificent rider. I have nothing but the utmost respect for that."

Bettini becomes the first rider to defend the prestigious rainbow jersey since compatriot Gianni Bugno achieved the feat in 1992.

While Bettini was basking in the glory of his achievement, the anger at the criticism laid at his door was bubbling just below the surface.

"I feel angry," he replied when asked how he felt. "I was angry at the start of the race and I am angry now about the allegations made against me. I will not let anyone damage my career after all the sacrifices I have made.

"This year we have learned in cycling that he who makes a mistake must suffer the consequences and so some people outside the sport will discover that is also true. I will enjoy the moment, but I want to see what can be done about the people who have tried to damage my career."

But despite his second consecutive world crown, Bettini said he will continue to compete for at least another year. "Someone taught me that I had to go out and fight, so I think I will be around for at least another year."

And when asked exactly who he was shooting at when he crossed the finish line, his response was ice cold. "So many people have shot at me this week that I wanted to fire back a few bullets of my own," he said. "I wasn't aiming at anyone in particular, but if anyone feels I was taking aim specifically at them, perhaps they believe I have a reason to be shooting at them."

© AFP 2007

Results - 267.4km

1 Paolo Bettini (Italy)6:44:43(39.64km/h)
2 Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation)  
3 Stefan Schumacher (Germany)  
4 Frank Schleck (Luxembourg)  
5 Cadel Evans (Australia)  
6 Davide Rebellin (Italy)0:00:06 
7 Sanchez Gonzalez S. (Spain)0:00:08 
8 Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)  
9 Fabian Wegmann (Germany)  
10 Martin Elmiger (Switzerland)  
11 Thomas Dekker (Netherlands)  
12 Michael Boogerd (Netherlands)0:00:14 
13 Björn Leukemans (Belgium)0:00:15 
14 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain)0:00:49 
15 Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus)  
16 Alexandre Usov (Belarus)  
17 Beat Zberg (Switzerland)  
18 Erik Zabel (Germany)  
19 Thor Hushovd (Norway)  
20 Radoslav Rogina (Croatia)  
21 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Brazil)  
22 Matej Mugerli (Slovenia)  
23 George Hincapie (United States Of America)  
24 Marcus Ljungqvist (Sweden)  
25 Chris Sörensen (Denmark)  
26 Jurgen Van Goolen (Belgium)  
27 Leonardo Duque (Colombia)  
28 Rene Mandri (Estonia)  
29 Gustav Larsson (Sweden)  
30 Pierrick Fedrigo (France)  
31 Thomas Lövkvist (Sweden)  
32 Alexander Efimkin (Russian Federation)  
33 Tomasz Marczynski (Poland)  
34 Jan Valach (Slovakia)  
35 Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands)  
36 Christian Vandevelde (United States Of America)  
37 Nuno Ribeiro (Portugal)  
38 Christian Pfannberger (Austria)  
39 Unai Etxebarria Arana (Venezuela)  
40 David George (South Africa)  
41 Ludovic Turpin (France)  
42 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway)  
43 Vladimir Efimkin (Russian Federation)  
44 Sergey Lagutin (Uzbekistan)  
45 Mario Aerts (Belgium)  
46 Vladimir Karpets (Russian Federation)  
47 Denis Menchov (Russian Federation)  
48 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Poland)  
49 Manuel Beltran Martinez (Spain)  
50 Damiano Cunego (Italy)0:00:57 
51 Filippo Pozzato (Italy)  
52 Alessandro Ballan (Italy)  
53 Allan Davis (Australia)0:01:05 
54 David Millar (Great Britain)  
55 Matthew Lloyd (Australia)0:01:10 
56 Karsten Kroon (Netherlands)0:01:24 
57 Valverde Belmonte A. (Spain)0:02:47 
58 Matija Kvasina (Croatia)0:03:10 
59 Kristjan Fajt (Slovenia)0:03:38 
60 Gorazd Stangelj (Slovenia)0:03:41 
61 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus)0:05:17 
62 Alessandro Bertolini (Italy)0:06:01 
63 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)0:06:34 
64 Maxime Monfort (Belgium)0:06:52 
65 Rodriguez Oliver J. (Spain)0:07:52 
66 Simon Gerrans (Australia)0:08:09 
67 Sylvain Chavanel (France)  
68 Thomas Voeckler (France)0:15:51 
69 Erki Pütsep (Estonia)  
70 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hungary)0:17:10 
71 Vladimir Tuychiev (Uzbekistan)0:21:57 
72 Hossein Askari (Islamic Republic of Iran)  
DNF Carlos Sastre Candil (Spain)  
DNF Stéphane Goubert (France)  
DNF Robert Gesink (Netherlands)  
DNF Barredo Llamazales C. (Spain)  
DNF Serguei Yakovlev (Kazakhstan)  
DNF Hernani Broco (Portugal)  
DNF Marcus Burghardt (Germany)  
DNF Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)  
DNF Andy Schleck (Luxembourg)  
DNF Philip Deignan (Ireland)  
DNF Jens Voigt (Germany)  
DNF Gerald Ciolek (Germany)  
DNF Amaël Moinard (France)  
DNF Volodymyr Zagorodny (Ukraine)  
DNF Laurens Ten Dam (Netherlands)  
DNF Bobby Julich (United States Of America)  
DNF Jason Mccartney (United States Of America)  
DNF Christian Knees (Germany)  
DNF Johan Van Summeren (Belgium)  
DNF Dominique Rollin (Canada)  
DNF Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)  
DNF Evgeny Petrov (Russian Federation)  
DNF Assan Bazayev (Kazakhstan)  
DNF James Lewis Perry (South Africa)  
DNF Matti Breschel (Denmark)  
DNF Juan A. Flecha Giannoni (Spain)  
DNF Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spain)  
DNF Tomislav Danculovic (Croatia)  
DNF Jure Golcer (Slovenia)  
DNF Romain Feillu (France)  
DNF Sandy Casar (France)  
DNF Hrvoje Miholjevic (Croatia)  
DNF Martin Mares (Czech Republic)  
DNF Andrea Tonti (Italy)  
DNF Matteo Tosatto (Italy)  
DNF William Walker (Australia)  
DNF Piotr Zielinski (Poland)  
DNF Fuyu Li (People's Republic of China)  
DNF Petr Bencik (Czech Republic)  
DNF Maros Kovac (Slovakia)  
DNF Glen Alan Chadwick (New Zealand)  
DNF Matej Jurco (Slovakia)  
DNF Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)  
DNF Takashi Miyazawa (Japan)  
DNF Vladislav Borisov (Russian Federation)  
DNF Dmitriy Fofonov (Kazakhstan)  
DNF Bruno Neves (Portugal)  
DNF Marcin Sapa (Poland)  
DNF Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic)  
DNF Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg)  
DNF Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia)  
DNF Michael Rogers (Australia)  
DNF Luis F. Laverde Jimenez (Colombia)  
DNF Krzysztof Szczawinski (Poland)  
DNF Romas Sinicinas (Lithuania)  
DNF Matej Stare (Slovenia)  
DNF Hugo Sabido (Portugal)  
DNF Martin Garrido Mayorga (Argentina)  
DNF Frederik Willems (Belgium)  
DNF Danail Petrov (Bulgaria)  
DNF Vladimir Gusev (Russian Federation)  
DNF Roger Hammond (Great Britain)  
DNF John Devine (United States Of America)  
DNF Tyler Farrar (United States Of America)  
DNF Ronny Scholz (Germany)  
DNF David Kopp (Germany)  
DNF Volodymyr Bileka (Ukraine)  
DNF Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukraine)  
DNF Scott Davis (Australia)  
DNF Jacek Morajko (Poland)  
DNF Hayden Roulston (New Zealand)  
DNF Maarten Den Bakker (Netherlands)  
DNF Richard Ochoa Quintero (Venezuela)  
DNF Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Colombia)  
DNF Martin Riska (Slovakia)  
DNF Svein Tuft (Canada)  
DNF Stéphane Auge (France)  
DNF Bram Tankink (Netherlands)  
DNF Matias Medici (Argentina)  
DNF Nebojsa Jovanovic (Serbia & Montenegro)  
DNF Stijn Devolder (Belgium)  
DNF Juan Pablo Dotti (Argentina)  
DNF Muradjan Khalmuratov (Uzbekistan)  
DNF Darren Lill (South Africa)  
DNF Bernhard Kohl (Austria)  
DNF Mauricio A. Ardila Cano (Colombia)  
DNF Mathew Hayman (Australia)  
DNF Luis Ministro Moyano (Argentina)  
DNF Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (Argentina)  
DNF Borut Bozic (Slovenia)  
DNF Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)  
DNF Daryl Impey (South Africa)  
DNF Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan)  
DNF Roman Bronis (Slovakia)  
DNF Andris José Hernandez (Venezuela)  
DNF Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands)  
DNF Trent Lowe (Australia)  
DNF Dainius Kairelis (Lithuania)  
DNF Mehdi Sohrabi (Islamic Republic of Iran)  
DNF Jeremy Vennell (New Zealand)  
DNF Cameron Evans (Canada)  
DNF Christian Poos (Luxembourg)  
DNF Kristijan Durasek (Croatia)  
DNF Lars Ytting Bak (Denmark)  
DNF Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine)  
DNF Sergey Kolesnikov (Russian Federation)  
DNF Juan José Haedo (Argentina)  
DNF Gerrit Glomser (Austria)  
DNF Marlon A. Perez Arango (Colombia)  
DNF Zolt Der (Serbia & Montenegro)  
DNF Mads Kaggestad (Norway)  
DNF Laurent Didier (Luxembourg)  
DNF Seyed Rezaei Khormizi S. (Islamic Republic of Iran)  
DNF Alex Cano Ardila (Colombia)  
DNF David Zabriskie (United States Of America)  
DNF Renato Seabra (Brazil)  
DNF Ricardo Martins (Portugal)  
DNF Aleksejs Saramotins (Latvia)  
DNF Medhi Fahridi Kovij (Islamic Republic of Iran)  
DNF Jan Sipeky (Slovakia)  
DNF Dragan Spasic (Serbia & Montenegro)  
DNF Pagliarini Mendonca L. (Brazil)  
DNF Robert Hunter (South Africa)  
DNF Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ukraine)  
DSQ Marzio Bruseghin (Italy)  
DNS José Rodrigues (Portugal)  

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