Skip to main content

Bettini finishes with a bang

Image 1 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep)

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 2 of 111

The podium (L to R):

The podium (L to R): (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 3 of 111

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta)

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 4 of 111

Just another day

Just another day (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 5 of 111

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi)

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 6 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep)

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 7 of 111

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta)

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 8 of 111

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi)

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) (Image credit: Davide Tricarico)
Image 9 of 111

Rivals Danilo Di Luca and Paolo Bettini

Rivals Danilo Di Luca and Paolo Bettini (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 10 of 111

When the going gets hard you can always appreciate all the serenity

When the going gets hard you can always appreciate all the serenity (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 11 of 111

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) on the attack!

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) on the attack! (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 12 of 111

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) was active early on

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) was active early on (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 13 of 111

Rebellin and Di Luca concentrating

Rebellin and Di Luca concentrating (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 14 of 111

Di Luca and Rebellin close by

Di Luca and Rebellin close by (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 15 of 111

The colourful peloton led by Lampre-Caffita

The colourful peloton led by Lampre-Caffita (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 16 of 111

The Schleck bros keeping close

The Schleck bros keeping close (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 17 of 111

Stretching out on a descent

Stretching out on a descent (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 18 of 111

The peloton weaves in and out of towns by Lake Como

The peloton weaves in and out of towns by Lake Como (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 19 of 111

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) very focused

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) very focused (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 20 of 111

Bettini spies an interesting piece of flora

Bettini spies an interesting piece of flora (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 21 of 111

Pippo Pozatto did a lot of work for Quick.Step

Pippo Pozatto did a lot of work for Quick.Step (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 22 of 111

Pippo Pozatto on the front of the peloton

Pippo Pozatto on the front of the peloton (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 23 of 111

Hey, who turned out the lights?

Hey, who turned out the lights? (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 24 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) always focused

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) always focused (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 25 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) in the thick of things

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) in the thick of things (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 26 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) shreds the peloton on the Madonna del Ghisallo

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) shreds the peloton on the Madonna del Ghisallo (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 27 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) with Sastre and Simoni on the Madonna del Ghisallo

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) with Sastre and Simoni on the Madonna del Ghisallo (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 28 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) was often in front

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) was often in front (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 29 of 111

Paco Mancebo (Illes Balears) riding tempo

Paco Mancebo (Illes Balears) riding tempo (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 30 of 111

Paco Mancebo (Illes Balears) with Stijn Devolder and Bettini on his wheel

Paco Mancebo (Illes Balears) with Stijn Devolder and Bettini on his wheel (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 31 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) setting a high pace to drop Cunego

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) setting a high pace to drop Cunego (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 32 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) leads over the top of the Madonna del Ghisallo

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) leads over the top of the Madonna del Ghisallo (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 33 of 111

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) comes by behind Bettini

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) comes by behind Bettini (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 34 of 111

Frank Schleck (CSC) staying in contact

Frank Schleck (CSC) staying in contact (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 35 of 111

Emanuele Sella (Panaria) tries to get the riders in front of him

Emanuele Sella (Panaria) tries to get the riders in front of him (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 36 of 111

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) leads the chasers over the Madonna del Ghisallo

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) leads the chasers over the Madonna del Ghisallo (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 37 of 111

At the top of the Ghisallo climb Cunego was back in the chase group

At the top of the Ghisallo climb Cunego was back in the chase group (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 38 of 111

Emanuele Sella (Panaria) rides on the front of the chase group

Emanuele Sella (Panaria) rides on the front of the chase group (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 39 of 111

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) in pursuit

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) in pursuit (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 40 of 111

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) rode a good race for Simoni

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) rode a good race for Simoni (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 41 of 111

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) driving the chase

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) driving the chase (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 42 of 111

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) had an excellent day to finish second

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) had an excellent day to finish second (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 43 of 111

The leading five

The leading five (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 44 of 111

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) making the break stick

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) making the break stick (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 45 of 111

CSC teammates Carlos Sastre and Frank Schleck

CSC teammates Carlos Sastre and Frank Schleck (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 46 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) on the front

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) on the front (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 47 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) is unbeatable from 100 metres out

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) is unbeatable from 100 metres out (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 48 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) is the man

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) is the man (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 49 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) celebrates his win

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) celebrates his win (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 50 of 111

The sprint for fifth is led out by Wegmann and Rebellin

The sprint for fifth is led out by Wegmann and Rebellin (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 51 of 111

Rebellin (L) passes Wegmann just before the line for 5th

Rebellin (L) passes Wegmann just before the line for 5th (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 52 of 111

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) after the race

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) after the race (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 53 of 111

Thumbs up from Bettini

Thumbs up from Bettini (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 54 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) salutes from the podium

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) salutes from the podium (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 55 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) salutes from the podium

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) salutes from the podium (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 56 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) salutes with his trophy

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) salutes with his trophy (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 57 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) is happy with the way he finished the season

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) is happy with the way he finished the season (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 58 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) grins on the podium

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) grins on the podium (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 59 of 111

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) satisfied with second

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) satisfied with second (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 60 of 111

The podium (L to R): Gilberto Simoni (2nd), Paolo Bettini (1st) and Frank Schleck (3rd)

The podium (L to R): Gilberto Simoni (2nd), Paolo Bettini (1st) and Frank Schleck (3rd) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 61 of 111

Smiling, happy podium: Gilberto Simoni (2nd), Paolo Bettini (1st) and Frank Schleck (3rd)

Smiling, happy podium: Gilberto Simoni (2nd), Paolo Bettini (1st) and Frank Schleck (3rd) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 62 of 111

Pat McQuaid and Vittorio Adorni flank ProTour winner Danilo Di Luca

Pat McQuaid and Vittorio Adorni flank ProTour winner Danilo Di Luca (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 63 of 111

ProTour winner for 2005

ProTour winner for 2005 (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 64 of 111

All hail Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi)

All hail Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 65 of 111

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) and the Liquigassettes

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) and the Liquigassettes (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 66 of 111

The peloton passes by the shorefront of Lake Como

The peloton passes by the shorefront of Lake Como (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 67 of 111

Just another day alongside Lake Como

Just another day alongside Lake Como (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 68 of 111

Bettini heads the field as the Madonna del Ghisallo starts

Bettini heads the field as the Madonna del Ghisallo starts (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 69 of 111

Bettini and Simoni powering the lead group

Bettini and Simoni powering the lead group (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 70 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) waiting for the right moment

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) waiting for the right moment (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 71 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) puts in an attack

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) puts in an attack (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 72 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) forces Simoni and Schleck to chase

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) forces Simoni and Schleck to chase (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 73 of 111

Bettini and Simoni on the Civiglio climb

Bettini and Simoni on the Civiglio climb (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 74 of 111

Simoni and Bettini distance Schleck on the Civiglio climb

Simoni and Bettini distance Schleck on the Civiglio climb (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 75 of 111

Frank Schleck (CSC) in pursuit of Simoni and Bettini

Frank Schleck (CSC) in pursuit of Simoni and Bettini (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 76 of 111

Frank Schleck (CSC) had a great day to finish on the podium

Frank Schleck (CSC) had a great day to finish on the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 77 of 111

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) chasing the lead group

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) chasing the lead group (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 78 of 111

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) pushing the pace

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) pushing the pace (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 79 of 111

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) showed plenty of aggression today

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) showed plenty of aggression today (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 80 of 111

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) goes on the attack, leaving Bettini, Schleck and Caruso to chase

Gilberto Simoni (Lampre Cafitta) goes on the attack, leaving Bettini, Schleck and Caruso to chase (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 81 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) has that determined look about him

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) has that determined look about him (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 82 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) tried to get a gap on the last climb

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) tried to get a gap on the last climb (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 83 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) on his own

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) on his own (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 84 of 111

What goes up must come down

What goes up must come down (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 85 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) beats Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) and Frank Schleck (CSC) to win the Giro di Lombardia

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) beats Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) and Frank Schleck (CSC) to win the Giro di Lombardia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 86 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) celebrates his victory in Como

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) celebrates his victory in Como (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 87 of 111

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) with the final ProTour jersey, flanked by UCI president Pat McQuaid (L) and Vittorio Adorni, chairman of the professional cycling council (R)

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) with the final ProTour jersey, flanked by UCI president Pat McQuaid (L) and Vittorio Adorni, chairman of the professional cycling council (R) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 88 of 111

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) is Mr ProTour

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) is Mr ProTour (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 89 of 111

UCI president Pat McQuaid speaks at the ProTour dinner

UCI president Pat McQuaid speaks at the ProTour dinner (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 90 of 111

The trophies for the various Contintental Tour winners

The trophies for the various Contintental Tour winners (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 91 of 111

Pat McQuaid congratulates Murilo Fischer, the winner of the European Tour

Pat McQuaid congratulates Murilo Fischer, the winner of the European Tour (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 92 of 111

Pat McQuaid congratulates Edgardo Simon, the winner of the America Tour

Pat McQuaid congratulates Edgardo Simon, the winner of the America Tour (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 93 of 111

Pat McQuaid congratulates the winner of the Asia Tour, Andrey Mizourov

Pat McQuaid congratulates the winner of the Asia Tour, Andrey Mizourov (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 94 of 111

The winners of three of the Continental Tours (L to R): UCI president Pat McQuaid, Murilo Fischer (Europe), Andrey Mizourov (Asia), and Edgardo Simon (America)

The winners of three of the Continental Tours (L to R): UCI president Pat McQuaid, Murilo Fischer (Europe), Andrey Mizourov (Asia), and Edgardo Simon (America) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 95 of 111

Vittorio Adorni presents Danilo di Luca with his ProTour trophy

Vittorio Adorni presents Danilo di Luca with his ProTour trophy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 96 of 111

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) is celebrated by his peers

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) is celebrated by his peers (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 97 of 111

Team CSC were the ProTour team champions

Team CSC were the ProTour team champions (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 98 of 111

No arguments: Bettini was the best

No arguments: Bettini was the best (Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 99 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) enjoyed this one

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) enjoyed this one (Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 100 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) with his trophy

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) with his trophy (Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 101 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) with the Lombardy trophy

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) with the Lombardy trophy (Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 102 of 111

A serious Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi)

A serious Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) (Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 103 of 111

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) happy to win the ProTour

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) happy to win the ProTour (Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 104 of 111

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) wins the tour of Lombardia

Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) wins the tour of Lombardia (Image credit: Davide Tricarico)
Image 105 of 111

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) finished 5th

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) finished 5th (Image credit: Davide Tricarico)
Image 106 of 111

A happy Bettini

A happy Bettini (Image credit: Davide Tricarico)
Image 107 of 111

Today I'm the number one: Paolo Bettini (Quickstep)

Today I'm the number one: Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) (Image credit: Davide Tricarico)
Image 108 of 111

The podium (L to R): Gilberto Simoni (2nd), Paolo Bettini (1st) and Frank Schleck (3rd)

The podium (L to R): Gilberto Simoni (2nd), Paolo Bettini (1st) and Frank Schleck (3rd) (Image credit: Davide Tricarico)
Image 109 of 111

Bettini (Quickstep) holds up the trophy

Bettini (Quickstep) holds up the trophy (Image credit: Davide Tricarico)
Image 110 of 111

Bettini's wife... tears of happiness

Bettini's wife... tears of happiness (Image credit: Davide Tricarico)
Image 111 of 111

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) celebrates his Pro-tour win with the Liquigas girls, called the 'Liquigassettes'

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas Bianchi) celebrates his Pro-tour win with the Liquigas girls, called the 'Liquigassettes' (Image credit: Davide Tricarico)

99th Giro di Lombardia - ProT

Italy, October 15, 2005

ProTour standings

Although it wasn't quite the same dominating ride that saw Paolo Bettini win the Championship of Zurich two weeks ago, the Olympic Champion still had it all over his rivals in today's 99th Giro di Lombardia. After forcing the decisive break on the Madonna del Ghisallo climb with less than 50 km to go, Bettini finished off the task by beating Gilberto Simoni (Lampre), Fränk Schleck (CSC) and Giampaolo Caruso (Liberty Seguros) in a four man sprint in Como. As he put it afterwards, there was no way he could lose.

Surprisingly, it was the first time that Bettini had finished on the podium in Lombardy. "It was a race that had eluded me a little, and this makes it even more enjoyable," said an excited Bettini after the finish. "I beat a great Simoni. To put a climber like him in difficulty on the Ghisallo makes me happy. Besides, I'm called Bettini: when I'm happy I make a racket. You'll excuse me today if I exaggerated.

"I couldn't lose. Since 2000, there hasn't been one year that I haven't one at least one or two big races. This year I counted 62 days of antibiotics up until July: my health was my biggest opponent...I have made up for everything in the last months, except for the World's. In 2006, who knows? I could aim at the Giro, but I would not say that now."

Bettini now counts eight classic wins in his palmares, which means that he's getting closer to Johan Museeuw's impressive tally of 11. "My friend Johan Museeuw, who won all the biggest classics, told me that one day I would beat him," said Bettini. I just need three more to equal him. To have a perfect career, I still should win Flanders, a World Championship, and besides those, the monumental Paris-Roubaix, even if it would take a miracle for the latter to happen."

Gilberto Simoni had a fine ride for second place, and he was always able to challenge Bettini, although he couldn't drop Il Grillo on the climbs. " "Today Paolo Bettini did a great race: he was almost unbeatable," said Simoni. "For a moment I thought I could beat him in the sprint but he was too strong. I tried to attack several times but without success. It was difficult to make the difference on the San Fermo climb, which is like the climbs of Milano Sanremo. It's too bad; I would have liked to win this race and finish a season which was not as I expected."

The third podium spot went to Fränk Schleck (CSC), who also finished off a very consistent period of racing, His second place in Zurich and third today being the highlights. "I really had to dig deep to reach the two up front again on the two last climbs," said the Luxembourg champion. "It was an extremely tough finish, but it was a fantastic feeling to be up there at the end of Giro di Lombardia. The team gave me the perfect support today and I'm happy to have secured a spot on the podium. I'm also proud of the way I've managed to finish this season, and it definitely has an effect on my expectations and ambitions for next year

How it unfolded

The 99th Giro di Lombardia got under way at 10:42am from the Swiss border town of Mendrisio, near Lake Lugano. Bart Dockx (Davitamon-Lotto) was the only non-starter of the 193-strong field. It didn't take long for the attacks to start, and Francesco Bellotti (Credit Agricole), Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi) and Juan Mercado (Quick.Step) went clear inside the first 20 km. Di Luca's presence doomed the break, although he did try to get away again in the company of Eric Leblacher (Credit Agricole), Mario Aerts (Davitamon-Lotto), Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears) and Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros) after 29 km.

That break also didn't stick and lasted until km 38, but after 41 km, a dozen riders escaped and quickly built a three minute lead after 66 km: Giovanni Visconti (Domina Vacanze), Marcus Zberg (Gerolsteiner), Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears), Carlos Barredo and Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros), Devis Miorin (Liquigas-Bianchi), Valerio Agnoli (Naturino), Davide Bramati (Quick.Step), Bram De Groot (Rabobank), Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval), Ivan De Gasperi (LPR) and Sascha Urweider (Phonak). Christiano Frattini (Tenax) tried to get across, but was reabsorbed by the peloton at km 73.

With such a big group, the peloton didn't let the break get too far away, and pegged the gap to 5'15 after 104 km. CSC led the pursuit as the race left the shores of Lake Como for a while and hit the climbs of Taceno (km 145) and the Colle di Balisio (km 162). At the top of the Taceno climb, the gap had fallen to 2'00 as Urweider was dropped from the break.

CSC continued to lead the chase with the aim of recapturing the break before the crucial Madonna del Ghisallo climb which started at km 192. But before this, Danilo Di Luca attacked solo at km 152, catching Urweider and distancing the peloton by 20 seconds. The pair lasted until km 164, then Di Luca called it a day at the feed zone in Onno (km 184). He had already shown that he wasn't going to be completely anonymous today, although his actions indicated that he had little intention of being in the finale.

The peloton was within striking distance of the break as the climb to the Madonna del Ghisallo shrine started. The patron saint of cyclists was looking out for Paolo Bettini today, and the Olympic Champion ramped up the pace on the lower slopes of the climb to mop up the leaders, with Allan Davis the last man standing. Bettini set a fierce tempo, and only four other riders managed to stay with him: Gilberto Simoni (Lampre-Caffita), Fränk Schleck and Carlos Sastre (CSC) and Giampaolo Caruso (Liberty). Chasing them were Emanuele Sella and Luca Mazzanti (Panaria), Leonardo Bertagnolli (Cofidis), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Caffita) and Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Illes Balears).

Over the top of the climb with 44 km to go, the Bettini-driven group had nearly half a minute on the nearest chasers. They were able to capitalise on that on the descent and pushed it out to the magic minute through Albavilla with 23 km to go. The chase group was reabsorbed by the peloton, which was falling further behind the leading quintet as Bettini kept the pressure on.

On the penultimate climb through the narrow streets of Civiglio, Bettini and Simoni turned the screws and first Sastre, then Caruso and Schleck were dropped. But the Luxembourg champ hung tough and quickly chased back on the descent, while Caruso had to do a bit more work to regain the breakaways before the final climb of San Fermo di Battaglia with 10 km to go. The Bettini/Simoni battle resumed on this short but steep (10 percent) ascent, with Bettini getting a gap with 700m to the summit. It looked good for a short time, until Simoni and Schleck closed it at the top.

On the descent into Como, Schleck was taking a back seat role, as he knew the other two were stronger. Caruso had more work to do, again having to chase alone on the descent. But he had enough left to catch the leading three with 1 km to go. He tried to attack immediately, but Bettini was right on his wheel. Instead, the Liberty man chose to lead out the sprint. Bettini, Simoni and Schleck were glued to each other's wheels, but when Bettini hit out with 300 metres to go, there was nothing the other two could do, and they crossed in exactly the same order.

In the peloton sprint, Fabian Wegmann provided an excellent leadout for his Gerolsteiner teammate Davide Rebellin, who finished fifth and gained enough points to move him up into third in the ProTour standings behind Danilo Di Luca and Tom Boonen.

Latest on Cyclingnews