In the first stage of Tirreno Adriatico from Tivoli to Tivoli today, Quick.Step's Paolo Bettini grabbed his third win this season by outsprinting Erik Zabel (Milram) and Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole). In the uphill finish straight, Zabel's teammate Alessandro Petacchi led out the sprint for the German, but the Olympic champion proved to be the best man for this type of terrain, especially as he could rely on the help of Filippo Pozzato.
"I rode very well today," said Bettini after the stage. "I was covered throughout the whole race thanks to my teammates who did a fantastic job once again. Bramati, De Jongh and Knaven were out front striding away for 140 kilometres, Baguet split the group up at the beginning of the climb and then Pozzato guided me up to the 500 metre mark. What more could I ask for? I’m feeling great and in form. From now on I’ll be taking things on a day to day basis, at least up until the time trial after which I’ll have to decide on how I am going to ride".