Bettini Bis at Worlds

AP Photo/Daniel Maurer
AP Photo/Daniel Maurer

Paolo Bettini was almost going to be sitting at home watching the Worlds instead of defending his World Championship of 2006. The reigning World Champ was defending himself on charges of not signing an anti-doping declaration and was almost banned from starting the race. Cooler heads prevailed and Bettini was on the start line. The events of the week motivated Bettini who had a relatively quiet year as World Champ.

The Italian National Team was stacked with top racers. Visconti, Pozzato, Rebellin and more were part of a star-studded Italian team that under the leadership of Franco Ballerini was slowly keeping the mantra of all for one. Last year and in the previous Olympics the Italians worked hard for one man Paolo Bettini. This year the Italians kept their game going by always controlling the race with several men in the front for most of the race. It would be easier to mention the non-Italians who were at the front since it was all Azzurri kit wearers driving the pace.

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AP Photo/Daniel Maurer

Bettini was angry at the allegations and showed the anger in his winning pose making a mock shooting motion that was directed at all of those “who think it is directed too”.

“It was a torturous week for me,” Bettini said. “I had a lot of anger inside me. The only thing I could do was respond with a victory.”

AP Photo/Daniel Maurer
AP Photo/Daniel Maurer

“It was an instinctive gesture, not targeted at anyone,” Bettini said. “If anyone felt it was directed at him, they have reason to think.”

Bettini is the first repeat World Champion since fellow Italian Gianni Bugno scored the repeat in Stuttgart, Germany 15 years earlier.