There are really no verbs in cycling to describe just how thoroughly Paolo Bettini won today’s Championship of Zurich. “Mushroom stamped” is I guess as close as I can get to it. The diminuative, balding, swarthy Italian benefitted from some pretty dominant Quick.Step teamwork and an unquestionably nasty set of pistons and just plain lept away from the heads of state 35k to go. No one responded, and after il Grillo‘s lead stretched out to three minutes, the field called a “rain mulligan” and immediately stopped trying. Frank Schleck (CSC) made a move late in the race to take second, beating Fassa’s Lorenzo Bernucchi (that’s a new name to me) in a sprint.
Bettini perhaps exacted a measure revenge today for the Italian team’s gargantuan flopperoo at Worlds last weekend. Bettini expresses some frustration over that here, but manfully concedes that “Boonen is certainly the #1 rider this season.” Uh, Paolo, haven’t you ever heard of the ProTour, quite possibly the most air-tight, fool-proof way of determining a season champion since the BCS? I mean, clearly the most dominant rider of the year was Liquigas’ Danilo DiLuca, right? He won two nearly identical races within four days of each other, and placed in the Top 5 of a Grand Tour a month later. That’s domination, right there, no question about it. The ProTour rankings system can’t be unsalvagably innaccurate, though, as CSC, with some help from Frank Schleck’s finish today, sewed up the Team Classification (an honor for which, as Christian Vande Velde notes with a whine, they will recieve nothing.)
Finally today, Interbike is over. (BTW, I have no idea what’s in that last link, because it kept crashing my browser. Faulty code, no doubt.) I had a chance to speak today with a partygoer (I mean, uh, cycling businessman) who attented Interbike to get a clarification of the bearing debacle from yesterday. Apparently, the ceramic bearings are in the BB, so they could indeed be the cermaic bearings in an FSA part you’d find on a CSC team bike. As to the advantages they site, I’m extremely skeptical, but all this aside, (and returning to my original point) VeloNews could have been a whole heck of a lot clearer.