Bettini not at Flanders

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26.03.2008/ Current World Champion Paolo Bettini (Quickstep) will not start at this years edition of the Tour of Flanders. Bettini is not 100% in form and will concentrate on the Ardennes classics. Silence-Lotto rider Bert Roesems will not assist Leif Hoste during the cobblestone classics.

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Paolo Bettini : not 100% yet ( Cyclingheroes)

Paolo Bettini said before he would like to add the Tour of Flanders to his palmares but if he still wants to do so, it won't be this year. Bettini announced yesterday he won't start at this years 'Ronde'.

Bettini motivated his decision to Belgian website "I am not 100% at the moment," Bettini said. Bettini also won't start at the E3 Prijs. "It was a very difficult decision because everybody knows how much I love these races."

Bettini is training in Tuscany at the moment. The current Road World Champion continued by saying: "To play a decisive role you have to be 100% and I am not at the moment. I talked about it with Patrick Lefevere and he understands my point of view."

Bettini concluded: "I prefer to give my spot at the team to somebody else. I give up Flanders to be completely ready for the Ardennes."

Quickstep sports director Wilfried Peeters explained "We saw that Bettini wasn't top at Tirreno, although Milano - Sanremo was better as we expected".

"Paolo needs a stage race in order to be ready for Wallonian classics and the Amstel Gold Race," Peeters said.

"He could do Flanders but if you are only 90% its a risk." Asked if Quickstep is going only for Tom Boonen now, Peeters said: "Sanremo didn't develop like Boonen wanted to but that didn't have anything to do with his form. He is fresh and he will give full gas for victories."

For Paolo Bettini the next races will be Brabantse Pijl and the Tour of Basque country.

Silence - Lotto will have to miss Bert Roesems for the cobblestone classics. Roesems broke his hip during last years Vuelta Espana and the 35 year old still isn't 100% recovered. Last year Roesems was one of the most important domestiques for Leif Hoste at Flanders and Paris - Roubaix.

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