Italian duo celebrate in Zurich

Paolo Bettini was in peerless form on Sunday as the Quick Step rider took his second win in five yea

Paolo Bettini was in peerless form on Sunday as the Quick Step rider took his second win in five yea
Paolo Bettini turned in one of the stand-out individual performances of the season in the Championship of Zurich on a day of double celebration for Italian cycling on Sunday. Four minutes after Bettini crossed the line almost three minutes ahead of runner-up Frank Schleck, Danilo Di Luca took fourth place on the day and with it sealed victory in the inaugural ProTour competition. With just two events remaining in the ProTour series, Paris-Tours and the Tour of Lombardy, Di Luca's 58-point lead is now unassailable. Both Jan Ullrich and Tom Boonen are within mathematical reach of the Italian, but neither will compete at Paris-Tours or Lombardy. Bettini's superb repeat of his 2001 victory in Zurich made amends for a hitherto indifferent season and disappointment in last week's world championship in Madrid. Having been tactically stymied in a breakaway in Spain last Sunday, Bettini decided to go it alone in cold, wet conditions in Switzerland yesterday. With 36km remaining, the Olympic champion struck for home from a thirteen-man grouped policed by four of his Quick-Step Innergetic team-mates. The victim of a mechanical glitch which enabled Lorenzo Bernucci and Vladimir Miholjevic to catch him minutes later, Bettini was soon on the attack again. The Italian's lead grew to three minutes over the last two climbs, the Pfannenstiel and the Wetzwil, a margin which was intact at the finish line. Behind, Team CSC's Frnk Schleck had caught Bernucci on the Pfannenstiel and was allowed to take second as the pair crossed the line together. Di Luca led home a three-man group completed by Samuel Sanchez and Steffen Wesemann thirteen seconds later. Bettini's superb exhibition offered a glimpse of what might have been had politics not thwarted him in Madrid last weekend. This was not lost on Bettini: "Today I showed what great form I'm in and I don't think that form is too different from what it was like in Madrid last week. I won in the cold, although usually I go better in warm weather; in Madrid, I really could have put on a show. "Today I had a great team supporting me, motivating me: when I thought about pulling out because of the bad weather, they made me hit back," Bettini continued. "Real team-mates and a united group can really make the difference when times are hard." Bettini's sights are now set on a first ever victory in the Tour of Lombardy in two weeks time. "A victory there wouldn't be a bad end to a season in which bad luck has often left its mark," he commented. Results 1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick.Step-Innergetic 240.9km in 6.06.22 2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 2.57 3 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 3.10 5 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel 6 Steffen Wesemann (Swi) T-Mobile 3.35 7 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3.39 8 Thomas Lvqvist (Swe) Franaise des Jeux 3.41 9 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Domina Vacanze 3.57 10 Vladimir Miholjevic (Slo) Liquigas-Bianchi ProTour standings 1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 229 pts 2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 171 3 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 140 4 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel 139 5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 136 6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 131 7 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 130 8 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 129 9 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 128 10 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 126
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