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Bettini claims Austrian win

Reigning UCI Road World Champion Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) has claimed his first victory of 2008, at the Tour of Austria. The Italian is contesting the event in preparation for his Olympic Games road title defence this August in Beijing, China.

"The decision to take part in the Tour of Austria has proved to be a good one," said Bettini. "My objective was to use this race to prepare myself in the best way possible ready for the Olympics - on top of this I've also gained my first victory of the season which is great news."

With the Tour of Austria's prologue cancelled after a violent thunderstorm made conditions in Chiusa too dangerous for it to continue, Bettini now holds the event's general classification lead. Shortly after Bettini's team-mate Tom Boonen had completed the 1.5 kilometre course, the UCI race jury decided to cancel the stage and neutralise all classifications.

"This result give me serenity and moral for my Olympic journey," he added.

The race continues tomorrow with a 169.6 kilometre stage from Toblach - Kitzbüheler Horn/Alpenhaus.