October 18, 2002 – With the Giro di Lombardia taking place this Saturday, cycling's World Cup season will come to a conclusion. Theoretically, three riders remain in contention to win the overall World Cup, but Italy's Paolo Bettini is certainly holding the major trump cards.
Bettini is leading the pack with 279 points from the previous nine races and with two top ten classifications in the last three editions of this race it looks very much like he will add to that total. Belgium's Johan Museeuw is his main rival with 270 points but the two time World Cup winner has not managed a Giro di Lombardia classification since 1996. At this time it is not even certain the “Lion of Flanders” will be present in northern Italy on Saturday.
Spain's Igor Astarloa has a hypothetical chance of overthrowing Bettini and Musseuw, but he will need a small miracle to do so. For the Saeco rider to win the World Cup he must win the race, hope Bettini finishes outside the top 25 points and Museeuw does not win ten points or more.