Italia: Bettini Dons Road Tricolore
It didn’t seem a very difficult track, but in the last 2 laps the group was very small. Fassa Bortolo tried to control the race, with Petito and Basso working for Bartoli and Pozzato. Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) was one of the most active, as was the “never old” Gianni Faresin (Gerolsteiner). In the last lap Valoti (Domina Vacanze) tried to get away, with Basso and some others, but then the main group caught them at just 2 kms from the end. So, first Nardello (Telekom) and then Quinziato (Lampre) tried to sprint, in the last hill. The Lampre’s riders arrived at just 200 metres from the national title, but with a big work of Paolini, Bettini won the Italian National Championship. 2nd an upset Pozzato and 3rd Commesso, the 2002’s winner.
Bettini: “I don’t know what to say. As I said this morning, I came with few team mates, and so I knew it was hard. But I must thank them because they did a big work. Bramati, Passuello before and…what to say about Paolini? I don’t know how to thank them. I think we’re a good couple together, and I hope I will have the chance to help him soon for his victory. Yesterday, I told him that I wasn’t running only for me, but also
for him. I came out well from Tour de Suisse and I’m ready for Tour de France. We will go there to have fun, and attack everytime is possible. I will use all the energies that I have. But of course my main objective now
is the World Cup in August”.
Paolini: “To tell the truth we started with the idea that he was going to help me to win. But then, in the final I told him to do the race, as he was feeling fine. In the last metres, I said to catch my wheel because I was going to help him for the final sprint. I couldn’t fight for the victory, also because lately I did a special work for climbing, preparing for the Tour, and so at the sprint I’m less strong than usual” .
Valoti: “I’m really disappointed because in the last laps I was feeling really strong, and when I tried to go away with a little group, with Basso, he told me that he couldn’t work cause of Bartoli and Pozzato behind. But he could play his chance with me. Anyway I showed to have a great condition, also because I just finished the Tour de Suisse”.
Fagnini: “In the last kms I was with the best, and I wanted to try to play my chances. But perhaps this track was a bit too hard for me. About Tour de France, I’m sad because Telekom didn’t call me. They wanted to make a team with all climbers and also because they wanna win the team time trial. And they know that I’m slow at time trial. So they choosed Zabel instead of me. Even if at last Valenciana, I was faster than Erik”.