Two years after his stage win in the same city, World Champion Paolo Bettini tried again yesterday as the Vuelta a España stage three neared its finale in Córdoba. His attacked, partly to shake the memories of the Olympics, was nullified by the sprinters' teams with only 13 kilometres remaining to the Roman city.
"Maybe I had to liberate myself from the blocking tactics that made me so upset at the Olympics," stated Paolo Bettini of Team Quick Step to La Gazzetta dello Sport. He won the 2004 Olympics, but was caught out in 2008 by a move that contained team-mate Italian Davide Rebellin.
Yesterday, 168.6 kilometres from Jaén to Córdoba, he tried his luck at kilometre 133 – 35 kilometres from the finish. He overtook earlier escapee Manuel Ortega of Team Andalucía-Cajasur, but was unable to defend himself from the work of teams Liquigas and Caisse d'Epargne.
"My move brought about nothing. ... A few years ago, to make your move you had to take off with 50 kilometres remaining. Today this has changed, but I wanted to try anyway."
Bettini's team-mate, Tom Boonen, benefited from the other teams' work to position himself for the eventual sprint and stage win. "It was already decided Boonen would do the sprint anyway, so... Compliments to him, he was great."