By Susan Westemeyer
The Giro di Lombardia reflected Fabian Wegmann's whole 2006 season: he rode well, but... "I was close in a lot of races this season and had nothing in the end," the Gerolsteiner rider writes on his website. But, he adds optimistically, "I seldom rode poorly, have [had] a few successes and placements to show and go on vacation with the feeling that I can do well in the big one-day classic races."
In Saturday's Lombardia, Wegmann finished third, becoming the first German to be on the podium (had there been a podium ceremony). He was the only one who could follow when eventual winner Paolo Bettini made his decisive break. "Although I just missed out on second place, I can end my season with a clear conscience and leave on Tuesday for vacation."
He also pays tribute to Bettini. "He had an unbelievable will and rode with his eyes on the road as in a trance. I am glad he won, not just because of the tragical death in his family, which probably motivated him." He adds, "Bettini is a great cyclist for whom I have the greatest respect."
Meanwhile, Wegmann is preparing to take it easy for a while. "It hasn't been easy to be a cyclist in this year of big scandals. Now the pressure is off, now I throw my bike and cell phone in the corner, fly far, far away to the other end of the world and climb out for four weeks."