Paolo Bettini, one of the greatest Italian cyclists in recent years, took an amazing win at the 2006 Il Lombardia. The Quick-Step–Davitamon rider had just won the road world championships the week before in Salzburg, Austria. The win was a rarity in pro cycling, with only 6 riders before him winning Lombardia in the rainbow jersey.
The victory was especially emotional as Bettini’s brother Sauro had died two days after Paolo had won the worlds. His older brother was in a terrible car accident and would die later in hospital. He had been organizing a large party for his brother’s win that would take place after Bettini finished his season following Lombardia.
Paolo was so distraught following his brother’s death that he almost quit cycling. He managed to suit up for the 100th edition of Lombardia and when he won the race he was in tears.
Bettini, who had also won the 2004 Olympic road race, would dedicate the race to Sauro. In his moving victory salute, he points to the sky in memory of his late brother.
Watch the incredible finish as Bettini dive bombs each corner perfectly en route to a glorious and moving win.