Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Road

Astarloa backs off bribe allegation

Newly crowned world road race champion Igor Astarloa has backtracked on his allegation that Italian ace Paolo Bettini tried to bribe him during Sunday's race. Astarloa claimed in Spanish newspapers on Monday that Bettini had offered him money to help him during the race. "Coming into the final climb Bettini offered me money to collaborate with him," he was quoted as saying. "He suggested we break away together and fight out the gold medal between us. I couldn't accept that." According to Bettini's camp Astarloa has since phoned the Italian to apologize. "Astarloa said that he didn't

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

By VeloNews Interactive, Copyright AFP2003

Newly crowned world road race champion Igor Astarloa has backtracked on his allegation that Italian ace Paolo Bettini tried to bribe him during Sunday’s race.

Astarloa claimed in Spanish newspapers on Monday that Bettini had offered him money to help him during the race.

“Coming into the final climb Bettini offered me money to collaborate with him,” he was quoted as saying.

“He suggested we break away together and fight out the gold medal between us. I couldn’t accept that.”

According to Bettini’s camp Astarloa has since phoned the Italian to apologize.

“Astarloa said that he didn’t understand what Paolo was saying to him during the race,” one of Bettini’s close associates said.

“It all happened in the excitement of the moment, at a time of high tension,” he added.

Bettini, who was said to be extremely upset by the allegation, has accepted Astarloa’s apology, but is apparently still mulling over whether to take legal action against the Spaniard on his return home.

Bettini started firm favorite to lift Sunday’s title but he could only manage fourth behind the 27-year-old Astarloa who has recently signed for French team Cofidis.