Italy's Bettini sees Olympics as numbers game

Paolo Bettini and Mark Cavendish, London-Surrey Cycle Classic 2011

Paolo Bettini sees the Olympic road race coming down to a game of numbers this Saturday. He knows the game well, having won the 2004 Olympic gold medal and now coaching Italy's five-man team.

"Every nation is halved because it has five men, not nine, but the race is still 250 kilometres. There are only 145 cyclists starting: 80 valid, 40 potentially adapted to the course, 20 dreadful, five who can dictate. But these five can't count on full teams, but only on four team-mates," Bettini told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.