Bettini Wins In Wallone
– Reported by Team Mapei –
Paolo Bettini won today the 1st stage of the Tour of the Rйgion Wallone – the stage from Chaufontaine to Seraing of 153 kilometres.
The route of the stage was quite selective and was ridden under a scorching sun of 35°. Right from the beginning of the race 5 riders started making their attack – amongst them was the MAPEI-Quick Step rider David Caсada who unfortunately didn’t take part in the Tour of France as he broke his left collar bone. David remained out front for almost all of the stage and then at 18 kilometres from the finish he attempted his solo sprint to the finish line. The group that was being piloted by the riders of the Lotto and Domo teams fought back and managed to catch up with him just 250 metres from the finish line at the end of a 3 kilometre up hill climb. After they had caught up with Caсada, Paolo Bettini caught them all unaware from the other side of the road by launching himself into the sprint leaving behind him Bjorn Leukemans of the Palmans-Collstrop team and his team mate Luca Paolini. This is Paolo’s third race after having to pull out of the Tour of Italy due to muscular problems. Today he really showed how powerful he is. His team Luca Paolini also proved to be one of the major riders in today’s stage.
“This win – explained Bettini with a total of 6 victories so far this season – has really boosted my spirits; I am still not in perfect shape but I ‘m sure I’ll be up along with the best on Sunday at Hamburg”.