Bettini v. Pollack v. Förster v. Lampre

It was a very close finish

It was a very close finish (Image credit: Sirotti)

It got wild and woolly on Monday afternoon the last kilometer of the Giro's 15th stage. Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster, T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack and Quick Step's Paolo Bettini fought it out for the sprint, with winner Bettini at first not sure of his victory. How did the two Germans see it?

Pollack wasn't happy. "It was very close again today. I have been close in almost every mass sprint. But I haven't won, and I am therefore very disappointed." He also came in for some light criticism from directeur sportif Rudy Pevenage, who said, "Olaf didn't pay attention for a moment and let a hole develop."

After the stage, the sprinter allegedly said that he had been blocked by Förster, who said, "There are no presents on the finish line. Pollack could have held on to my rear wheel."

Förster, who finished third, had problems with other riders. "After the finish I got into it with Fornaciari from Lampre. We stood nose to nose and yelled at each other, he in Italian and me in German. Then a couple of guys got between us, otherwise it would probably have escalated. I got so angry at the Cunego troupe. They force themselves into the front at a sprint finish and escort Cunego in, as if he were the Patron with a 20 minute advantage," he wrote at Radsportnews. "Maybe tomorrow I should get in Lampre's way on the mountain stage, so that they can see how it is."

The Gerolsteiner rider saw the sprint this way: "I went for it. All or nothing. I would rather go down with all flags flying, than to try nothing and roll over the finish as sixth. When I saw the 300 metre sign, I thought, 'Oh oh, that's pretty far.' Out of the corner of my eye I saw the first bike go by me. S***...then another one. I had to pull myself together to keep on going."

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