World Champion Paolo Bettini is continuing to have bad luck, which could be blamed on the famed 'curse of the rainbow jersey'. The Quick Step rider crashed on a wet descent in the fourth stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco on Thursday, and was forced to pull out of the race.
"It had just started to rain," Bettini explained, "In order not to run any risks I backed off from the group a little to get my rain jacket passed to me from the team car. For a second I had to take my hands off the handlebars whilst I put the rain jacket on. In that instant Alexandre Botcharov came speeding past me hitting my front wheel which sent me flying into the air. We were doing about 60 kilometres per hour downhill!"
After picking himself up, Bettini got back on his bike and rode for a further 20 kilometres but in the end was forced to stop because of the pain he was in. "I just wasn't able to stay on my bike any longer," the Italian added.
Bettini suffered scrapes to his left and right gluteus and badly bruised his left hip. He will leave Spain on Friday morning and on Saturday will undergo further tests and x-rays in order to rule out the possibility of any fractures, his team announced Thursday.