World Champion Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Innergetic) intends on adding more Vuelta a España stage victories to his palmares in preparation for this month's World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany after taking his third stage win at the Grand Tour on yesterday's Stage 3. Bettini took his first Vuelta stage win in 2005 on Stage 16 for his Belgian squad, adding a second victory on Stage 2 during last year's edition.
"We have decided to make the race hard, and I think we've reached our goal," he declared. "I won, but the whole team was super!"
The Italian sensation knew the 153 kilometre Stage 3 to Luarca would be to his liking having discussed the stage with team-mate Carlos Barredo. The World Champion was delighted with the victory, just the second in a largely unsuccessful season for the sprinter. While Bettini rode to two strong runner-up positions at the Giro d'Italia his only other victory this season was at the Tour of California's Stage 4 in February.
"I've talked to Carlos Barredo during the race," Bettini said. "His girlfriend lives in the neighbourhood and he usually rides in these roads. He told me that the final was perfect for me. Now I want to try to win another stage. I have missed the victory for a long time. The Vuelta is a perfect race to prepare for the Worlds. I hope that this race can help me in finding the right condition like I did last year."
The Stuttgart World Champions run from September 26 - 30 where Bettini will attempt to retain his UCI rainbow jersey.