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World champion closes season in style

Paolo Bettini (Quick-Step) emotional

Paolo Bettini (Quick-Step) emotional (Image credit: Sirotti)

By Jeff Jones and Gregor Brown

A very emotional world champion Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step) crossed the finish line in Como a handful of seconds ahead of Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) to win the 100th Giro di Lombardia. Bettini, who lost his brother Sauro in a car accident less than two weeks ago, attacked on the Civiglio climb with 15 km to go and was joined by Wegmann after the descent. The two worked together until the San Fermo climb, where Bettini was able to get rid of Wegmann and ride to the finish solo.

The 245 km race was dominated by a four man breakaway that formed after 82 km with Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner), Andrea Pagoto (Panaria), Diego Cacchi and James Perry (Barloworld). The four reached a maximum lead of 13'10, but were eventually all caught on the Madonna del Ghisallo climb with around 45 km to go. Bettini had already reduced the peloton to a handful of riders there, and kept attacking until he finally got away in the last 15 km.

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