By Gregor Brown
Saturday in the GP Etruschi, World Champion Paolo Bettini (Quickstep-Innergetic) concluded his first race of the season, and will soon depart for his second; leaving from his home town of La California and travelling to the Tour of California, in the USA. "Tuesday I go from La California to California," joked Bettini to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The wines they have copied are good. We will see about the riders."
"I have finished my first [race], how many are left? Ninety?" Il Grillo Livornese had a calm race to start his 2007 season, a very different story than his teammate Steven De Jongh, who crashed in the final metres. "I took De Jongh to the front with three kilometres to go and then I packed in; I do not yet have the legs and the first race, everyone wants to be up front and it is really nervous."
"I had good sensations," continued the World Champion, who finished 95th for the day. "I thought it would have been worse. I still have work to do, but with the bike there is always work to do." Regarding the race location, he added, "To pass in front of the house where I was born and raised with the World Champion jersey was like a dream became a reality."
Bettini will compete in the eight-day Tour of California stage race in USA, running from February 18 to 25.