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March 08, 2006

Bettini takes 1st stage at Tirreno-Adriatico

ESPN.com | Cycling-Bettini wins first stage of Tirreno-Adriatico

Bettini wins Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
Paolo Bettini seized the day, saying he's intent on competing for the overall title at Tirreno-Adriatico.

Bettini outsprinted Erik Zabel, the eternal 2nd, and Thor Hushovd on the slightly uphill finish. Zabel had the leadout services of teammate Alessandro Petacchi, who felt the finish suited Zabel better than himself:

"The only way we could win was to make Quick.Step work because we knew that Paolo (Bettini) was the man to beat. In any case, Erik rode great today. With 1km to go, he was a bit behind and came up fast. Yes, he lost, but he lost to Bettini who is the best in the world for this kind of finish. So I'm willing to do what it takes to help my teammate win."

Bettini has seemingly made a career on finishes too tough for the pure sprinters. He won the overall here in 2004:

"I'm not going to hold back. This year's route is tough. The stage five time trial and the uphill finish at San Giacomo on stage six will decide the race," Bettini said.

"Levi Leipheimer and Stefano Garzelli are the big favourites but I've thrown my hat into the ring and I'm going to give it a go."

Longtime Lance Armstrong nemesis Filippo Simeoni took a very long flyer today, jumping out with only 4 kilometers ridden, being joined soon by two other riders, dangling almost 10 minutes off the front, then being caught with less than 3 kilometers left on the stage.

Also:

Eurosport | Bettini on song, Zabel second
cyclingnews.com | Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1: Bettini is the best

Photos:
cyclingnews.com | Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1 photo gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on March 8, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Erik Zabel, Levi Leipheimer, Paolo Bettini, Tirreno-Adriatico '06, Top Stories | Permalink

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