Bettini hopeful for Liège

World Champion Paolo Bettini (Quick-Step) finished in seventh place in the ProTour race around...

World Champion Paolo Bettini (Quick-Step) finished in seventh place in the ProTour race around Valkenburg on Sunday, but was nevertheless very happy about how the race turned out for him. The small Italian took the right decisions at the right times, following the decisive breakaway initiated by the later winner Stefan Schumacher at the top of the Kruisberg, with 23 kilometres to go. But as the Amstel Gold Race served as preparation for Il Grillo's true goal, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Bettini wasn't disappointed that he didn't make it on the podium in Valkenburg.

"The win would of course have been beautiful, but for that I would have had to focus on it beforehand," he told Belgian media after the race. "I want to retain two positive things from this race: I was able to race with the best up front, and I didn't crash. These are two important factors ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. To win there wearing my rainbow jersey would be a dream to me. My legs make me hopeful, and I've also become older and wiser - two qualities that will certainly help me on Sunday."

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