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Giro del Lazio
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68th Giro del Lazio - 1.HC

Italy, September 21, 2002

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Bettini wins Giro del Lazio, ready for Belgium

Paolo Bettini (Mapei-Quick Step) claimed today the 68th Giro del Lazio, a race of 196km in the Lazio region of Italy. The hors categorie race including three tough climbs, the Palestrina, Rocca Priora, and Rocca di Papa, before finishing on a circuit in the town of Nettuno. Bettini, current leader of the World Cup series, has shown impressive form throughout the season, including a win in Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Today's win was yet another display of the Mapei rider's ability to both climb and sprint with the best.

The serious moves of the day were saved for the final climb, the Rocca di Papa, 125km into the race. It was on the slopes of the Rocca di Papa that Dario Frigo (Tacconi Sport) and Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo) each tried an attack. Finally, the decisive move was made after an acceleration by Lampre's Marco Serpellini, who along with Frigo and Basso brought for company Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Fredy Gonzalez (Colombia-Selle Italia), Gianluca Tonetti (Cage Maglierie), Fabiano Fontanelli and Luca Mazzanti (Mercatone Uno), Cristian Gasperoni (Acqua e Sapone), Leonardo Giordani (Colpack-Astro), and Bettini.

This select group of eleven solidified their advantage on the descent of the Rocca de Papa, and although their lead never exceeded a minute, they were not to be joined by the peloton again. With just the right combination of cooperation and horsepower, the leaders maintained their advantage all the way to the finish.

As the race entered the final circuit around Nettuno, the local crowd ready to witness a sprint royal from the select group. With a different idea in mind, it was Luca Mazzanti who first tried to break the grip of the group, attacking with 1.5km to go. Mazzanti was quickly reeled in by Bettini and Basso, once again setting the stage for a sprint, for which Bettini was no doubt favored.

Leonardo Giordani was next to go, launching a blistering attack in the final 500 meters, desperately looking for his first career victory. It was a gutsy move, but the young Italian was perhaps a bit too confident, and thinking the victory was his, Giordani was stunned to find himself caught within sight of the line. Fontanelli launched the sprint from the group behind, but soon faded and was overtaken by Bettini, Rebellin, and Gasperoni. In the end nobody could match the finishing speed of Paolo Bettini, who claimed his eighth victory of the season. Frigo's Tacconi Sport teammate Gianluca Bortolami, winner of the recent GP Fourmies, took the field sprint for 12th place, 27 seconds back.

His victory was an impressive show of form, but Bettini was quick to affirm that he is ready to work for Cipollini at the upcoming World's in Zolder. Second in last year's World's in Lisbon, Bettini should by all means be considered a favorite this year. However the Mapei man knows all too well the consequences of the frequent miscommunication and battle of egos which so often derail the chances of the Italian squadra. Come what may, Bettini showed today that he is ready to perform in Zolder, as well as defend his World Cup leader's jersey in the final two events next month.


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Results - 196 km

1 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                          4.48.21 (40.784 km/h)
2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
3 Cristian Gasperoni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
4 Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno
5 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
6 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
7 Dario Frigo (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
8 Fredy Gonzalez Martinez (Col) Colombia-Selle Italia
9 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Mercatone Uno
10 Leonardo Giordani (Ita) Team Colpack-Astro
11 Gianluca Tonetti (Ita) Cage Maglierie
12 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi                   0.27
13 Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
14 Uros Murn (Slo) Formaggi Trentini
15 Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Alessio
16 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Formaggi Trentini
17 Gabriele Missaglia (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
18 Massimo Giunti (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
19 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
20 Giuseppe Palumbo (Ita) De Nardi-Pasta Montegrappa
21 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Mercatone Uno
22 Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
23 Maximilian Sciandri (GBr) Lampre-Daikin
24 Vladimir Duma (Ukr) Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo
25 Sergei Lelekin (Rus) Cage Maglierie
26 Gerhard Trampusch (Aut) Mapei-Quick Step
27 Gianni Faresin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
28 Luca Scinto (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
29 Marius Sabaliauskas (Ltu) Saeco-Longoni Sport
30 Leonardo Scarselli (Ita) Colombia-Selle Italia
31 Fausto Dotti (Ita) Cage Maglierie
32 Jamie Burrow (GBr) Amore & Vita Beretta
33 Fabio Bulgarelli (Ita) De Nardi-Pasta Montegrappa
34 Thomas Gronquist (Swe) Amore & Vita Beretta
35 Cristiano Frattini (Ita) Cage Maglierie
36 Oscar Pozzi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
37 Ruggero Borghi (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
38 Bo Hamburger (Den) Index Alexia
39 Féliz R. Cardenas Ravallo (Col) Cage Maglierie
40 Marcel Strauss (Swi) Gerolsteiner
41 Igor Pugaci MDA Saeco-Longoni Sport
42 Andrey Mizourow (Kaz) Mercatone Uno
43 Cadel Evans (Aus) Mapei-Quick Step
44 Fortunato Baliani (Ita) Colombia-Selle Italia
45 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo
46 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
47 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
48 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
49 Roberto Petito (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
50 Sergio Barbero (Ita) Lampre-Daikin
51 Santo Anza' (Ita) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
52 Mauro Facci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
53 Hernan Buenahora (Col) Cage Maglierie
54 Matteo Gigli (Ita) Team Colpack-Astro
55 Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
56 Alexandre Shefer (Kaz) Alessio
57 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
58 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
59 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Fassa Bortolo
60 Gianluca Valoti (Ita) Index Alexia
61 Massimo Donati (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
62 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
63 Antonio Rizzi (Ita) Formaggi Trentini
64 Simone Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
65 James Perry (GBr) Amore & Vita Beretta                          1.12
66 Uwe Hardter (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                  5.00
67 Marco Gili (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
68 Mauro Gerosa (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
69 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
70 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Emmegi
71 Biagio Conte (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
72 Claudio Astolfi (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Cantina Tollo
73 Vladimir Lobzov (Rus) Colombia-Selle Italia
74 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
75 Marco Fincato (Ita) Mercatone Uno
76 Moreno Di Biase (Ita) Formaggi Trentini
77 Cristian Pepoli (Ita) Saeco-Longoni Sport
78 Damiano Giannini (Ita) Index Alexia
79 Dmitri Konyshev (Rus) Fassa Bortolo
80 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
81 Eddy Serri (Ita) Index Alexia
82 Hector Orlando Mesa Mesa (Col) Formaggi Trentini
83 Luca Paolini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
84 Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio
85 Andrea Melani (Ita) Amore & Vita Beretta

Starters: 159
Classified: 85