The reigning Road World Champion, Paolo Bettini, hasn’t had the best of years, but his performance in the 267.4k race Stuttgart earnt the Italian his second rainbow jersey.
The 33-year-old won from a five man breakaway group, which included Frank Schleck, Cadel Evans, Alexandr Kolobnev and German Stefan Schumacher. There were many attempts by several riders to go away from the peloton, but this break, happening on the last lap, was the decisive move.
Only the fifth rider in history to win back to back victories, Bettini was the main instigator of the break, and everything fell perfectly into place as the break approached the finish line. The Russian rider launched the sprint first but Bettini was too strong, and eased past to take the victory.
Tactic played their part in the race, with the Italians helping to set and control the pace during the 14 laps of a 19.1km circuit. The course included the tough Herdwig and Birkenopf climbs, making for a total of 19,000ft of climbing in the 267.7km race. Ouch.
Of the British riders in the race, David Millar was the highest place in 54th. Roger Hammond and Mark Cavendish both unfortunately failed to finish.
Jonathan Bellis wins bronze in the Under-23 race
There was better luck for Britain in the Under-23 race however, as Jonathan Bellis avoided a crash in the final metres to take the bronze medal. The race was won Peter Velits of Slovakia, the 22-year-old holding of second placed Wesley Sulzberger of Australia.
“We only had three riders,” Bellis said, “so it was a race where we had to conserve a lot until the end. This allowed me to be the best for the finish. My team-mates did the best to pull the riders back who were away. In the end I had the legs to do something, so it was good.”