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Bettini wins first stage of Tirreno-Adriatico

Updated: March 8, 2006, 11:15 AM ET
Reuters

By Stephen Farrand

ROME, March 8 - Former race winner Paolo Bettini of Italy won a sprint finish to claim the first stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico in Tivoli on Wednesday.

The Quick Step rider out-sprinted Erik Zabel of Germany and Thor Hushovd of Norway after his team mates pulled back an early attack on the gradual climb to the finish of the 167-km stage.

Bettini jumped to the front in the final 200 metres and held on in the dash to the line.

"Last year I suffered in this ...

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