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No regrets for Italy despite missing out on world championship medal

Stephen Farrand
October 1, 2013, 00:50,
October 1, 2013, 01:50
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, October 1, 2013
UCI Road World Championships, Elite Men road race
Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) leads the favourites

Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) leads the favourites

  • Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) leads the favourites
  • Paolo Bettini helps Vincenzo Nibali after the rider crashed
  • Paolo Bettini pushes Vincenzo Nibali back into the fray after a crash in the elite men's world championship road race
  • Scarponi and Pozzato cross the line together

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Bettini: "I'd rather finish fourth than loose the race like Spain did"

Italy has now failed to win a medal in the last five editions of the Elite men's road race world championships but the rider and national coach left Florence with a sense of pride rather than failure after the Azzurri did everything they could to control the race and set up Vincenzo Nibali.

The 28 year-old Sicilian finished fourth, beaten by Alejandro Valverde (Spain) in the sprint after he lost contact with Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain) and then was being unable to go with Rui Costa (Portugal) when he jumped across to the Spaniard and beat him in the sprint. Nibali crashed at speed with two laps to go but got back up to the peloton with a show of strength and some help from the team car. However his injuries affected his race.

Other crashes took out road captain Luca Paolini, while protected sprinter Filippo Pozzato lost contact on the final climb up to Fiesole at the same time as Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Peter Sagan (Slovakia).

Italian national coach Paolo Bettini was disappointed to miss out on a medal but was proud of how his riders had dominated and controlled must of the race.

"I'd rather finish fourth than loose the race like Spain did. Vincenzo fought all the way to the end and raced with intelligence. I'm proud that we're back as the best nation in the race," Bettini said.

"I've got no regrets and can only praise all the riders. They fought like lions. We took on the race, as we'd planned. Almost everyone crashed at some point except Pozzato, who had a puncture and changed bikes. We were unlucky that Paolini crashed with Nibali and Scarponi because the finale would have been different if he'd been up there with Vincenzo."

"If Vincenzo hadn't crashed, I'm sure he'd have been up there: either to fight for the win with Rodriguez or he would have dropped him and won alone."

Plans for the future

Italy was riding to honour the late Franco Ballerini's memory. Bettini took over from Ballerini as national coach in 2010 but has so far failed to repeat his success as national coach.

Bettini was close to quitting the prestigious but pressured role in the summer but stayed on for the Tuscany world championships, close to his home. He has often lamented the lack of a serious long term strategy within the Italian Cycling Federation and seems tempted to do other things in cycling.

He refused to immediately say what he intends to do. "First I've got to go home and pick the olives…" he joked to Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We'll see. It's not the right moment to talk about my future. But if things feel right, if there's a real project for the future, then why not? I like working with the riders. It's up to the president of the Federation."

Luca Scinto, Gianni Bugno, Maurizio Fondriest and Max Sciandri have been named as possible replacements. Sciandri seemed set for the job in the spring but Cyclingnews understands he has signed a three-year contract with BMC as a directeur sportif and intends to stay with the US-registered team.


perfessor More than 1 year ago
Someone needs to tell Paolo how to spell 'lose'....oh,'s the editors fault?
Mike Zobel More than 1 year ago
What editor?
ranprunty More than 1 year ago
rather finish fourth than loose the race and then was being unable to go controlled must of the race
deemfingtee More than 1 year ago
try babelfish next time.
deemfingtee More than 1 year ago
*Farrand should
Bosco Rivera More than 1 year ago
Thought of you as soon as I read the headline. Glad to see you're keeping it up.
ranprunty More than 1 year ago
mr. farrand, you've had a tough year at the keyboard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'd rather loose the race than be able to spell lose
JantonStentenan More than 1 year ago
I'd rather win the race than be able to spell lose. This however is just insult added to injury.
veloracer5 More than 1 year ago
Don't be so quick to pat yourself on the back Paolo, if you hadn't of motorpaced Nibali back to the pack non of your riders would have sniffed a medal in the finale
JantonStentenan More than 1 year ago
Honestly, are we criticizing riders for using their team cars to get back on after a crash. Look at every rider in every race there has ever been since the beginning of time and you will not be able to find one person who didn't use their team car for help to get back in.
LemonFriend More than 1 year ago
Makes one wonder why it's even in the rulebook if it is never enforced - or not even considered cheating.
LanterneVerte More than 1 year ago
if it was officially allowed it would happen all the time and there would be chaos
Montoya4Ever More than 1 year ago
One thing is a little push or a "mechanical" or medical help while riding ...another thing is a tow to get back to the pack, 4 me that's cheating, the same as having an extra burst with EPO, if you allow one ..then allow the other !!!!
gregod More than 1 year ago
Bettini: "I'd rather finish fourth than loose the race like Spain did" The stupid, it burns. Even more egregious than the spelling errors is the fact that the cyclingnews is paid to let the above spammer post their nonsense.
JantonStentenan More than 1 year ago
There definitely should be some sort of moderator to make sure none of that spam makes its way onto the forum.
rhubroma More than 1 year ago
Just nonsense. 1) Cyclingnews is quoting la Gazzetta dello Sport, 2) Nibali was "helped" on his fight back after the crash by a team mechanic adjusting his break at the end on the fly, not against the rules 3) Bettini is only stating the truth - the Spanish lost a race, which, they should have had in the bag. By contrast Italy was unfortunate, but faught admirably and did their jobs as told. When you don't get a win or medal under such circumstances, you can't really be critical of your own riders. PS: If the Italians had lost the same way Spain did, Paolo would have eaten his boys alive in the press, would have crucified them. He's, therefore, not being a sore loser. People that think he is, don't know squat about bike racing.
Pedal Pusher More than 1 year ago
he he - before the race I posted on here that is was unlikely spain or Italy would win because they don't ride as a cohesive team - both teams have too many riders with huge egos!
Volderke More than 1 year ago
So you are concluding Italy didn't ride cohesive?
wirral More than 1 year ago
"lose", you idiot. What kind of journalist are you? Unbelievable.
unc_sammy More than 1 year ago
I like the idea of the Spanish team that was spread all over the peloton in case of crashes. Most of them survived the pile ups, except for Contador who's always get caught behind those crashes and ended up spent bridging into the lead group. Spain's gold medal hope in Valverde and Rodriguez is a perfect combination for a sprinter and explosive climber, only that they were foiled by a breakaway artist who was proven as a strong finisher too . . congratulations to Rui Costa.