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Giro di Lombardia: Quotes from Paolo Bettini's interview
By Fabio
Date: 10/20/2002
Giro di Lombardia: Quotes from Paolo Bettini's interview

Quotes from Paolo Bettini, inteviewed after he clinched his first World Cup Overall victory. "Il Grilo was" far from top condition on Saturday, as he hit the mountains again after training and racing on flat road for about three weeks. But the Tuscan struggled, stayed with the best ones, and controlled the only threat to his World Cup leadership: Spain's Igor Astarloa. Here is what the Mapei rider said about the contest and more topics in a post-race interview.

"After I finished fourth Overall for two years in a row, this time we started with a clear target: victory. And we have been working on that since the beginning of the World Cup. This success was built step by step".

"The World Champion's, Horizontal stripped, Rainbow Jersey is probably more famous and highly regarded by fans. But this jersey has got a particular meaning: I believe that being competitive in 10 different races rather than a single one means a lot. So. well ... for the moment let's enjoy this one".

"This victory of mine, plus last Suaday's World Title taken by Mario, plus all World Cup races won by Italians. That's our way to reply to the current crisis of Italian cycling. I hope all of these results may help this sport to turn the page. If you want to understand how much cycling is not finished, you only need to notice how many people were along the road watching the race today. Hope these results and factors may help someone to think over and bet on cycling, because this sport really deserves it".

"This jersey has always been my target, since the start of the season. But I knew that I could win only after a tight battle. Nobody in the peloton makes you any concession and gifts during the World Cup. You need to believe in your chances to be able to fight until the end. And today I struggled until 3 km. to the finishing line. So I think I deserve this Jersey, it's a reward for the sacrfices I'v done all through the season".

"While building-up for the Worlds, I trained for more than two weeks on flat curses, and then raced Paris-Tours (where I hoped I could seal the World Cup with a good result) and the World Championships themselves, whose route you alreday know; I didn't work on my climbing skills. So I was in trouble today. But it was someting worthy of doing, as I knew that on the 19th of October you can struggle on the ascents you are no longer accustomd to, but if you hang tough you can avoid these troubles. And today I had bad legs, but a good motivation, and this proved one more time that if you want to win this jersey, this Cup, you need plenty of experience".

"I had difficult moments today. On the Selvino ascent I was in trouble, struggling. Both me and Nardello, who always stood beside me today, were in the bottom of the peloton, when somebody before us mistook a turn and crashed. Both of us lost contact to the leading bunch, and didn't have legs good enough to regain them immediately. We succeeded in doing it at the end of the descent, and since that moment I just tried not to lose contact again. I knew the route and the climbs, and was perfectly aware of the fact that by riding my own race, without pretending too much, I could limit damages and finish the contest in the best places".

"I knew that in the final, 1.5-km long ascent into Bergamo I just had to mark Astarloa and that's what I did. I' m a bit sorry for not winning the race, as a victory today would have been a great satisfaction to me. But when you realize you legs are not OK, you gotta handle the situation. So I decided that the only thing I had to do was keeping an eye on Astarloa, and when he gave up I was relieved, as I really couldn't take it any longer".

"I must thank Bartoli for congratulating me, and I'm happy he won this race too. He deserves this victory. He previously said he wanted to win the Giro di Lombardia. But he did it in early August as soon as he got back to racing, not yesterday. This comeback is the signal that the kind of Michele we saw a few years ago is back. Michele has already won two World Cups, while this is the first one for me, so I hope we'll be there battling again in the future too".

"Me the number one rider ?? Well, I set my targets and try to hit them. Then it's up to the others to label riders. I just try and do my work in the best possible way. So far I achieved, sooner or later, about all the targets I set. There are a few targets left anyway. Next year I'll be riding for a new stronger team, and we'll start again from Milan-San Remo. A race I have not won yet, so I hope I can take it this time, with this new World Cup winner Jersey on my shoulders".

PAOLO BETTINI - Bio/Palmares

Born in Cecina (Livorno - Italy) on April the 1st, 1974

Professional Rider since the 1997 season

- - - - - TEAMS - - - - -

1997: MG - Technogym

1998: ASICS - CGA

1999: Mapei - Quick Step

2000: Mapei - Quick Step

2001: Mapei - Quick Step

2002: Mapei - Quick Step

2003: Quick Step-Davitamon

- - - - - PALMARES - VICTORIES - - - - -

2002 : (11 Wins)


* 2 Stages (3rd and 4th) and Overall Winner Giro della Riviera Ligure di Ponente

* Stage 2 Tirreno - Adriatico (Frosinone)

* Liége-Bastogne-Liége (World Cup)

* Coppa Sabatini

* Stage 3 Giro della Provincia di Lucca (Forte dei Marmi)

* Giro del Lazio

* 1st Stage (1st: Seraing) and Overall Winner Tour de Wallonie

- - - - - - - - -

2001 : (5 Wins)

* Stage 4 Giro della Provincia di Lucca (Marina di Pietrasanta)

* Championship of Zürich (World Cup)

* Coppa Placci

* 2 Stages (3rd and 11th) Tour of Langkawi

- - - - - - - - -

2000 : (7 Wins)

* Memorial Cecchi Gori

* Stage 9 Tour de France (Dax)

* Liége-Bastogne-Liége (World Cup)

* 2 Stages and Overall Winner Montecatini-Gaggio Montano

* Stage 4 Challenge Maiorca

- - - - - - - - -

1999 : 6 Wins

* 1 Stage (Viareggio) and Overall Winner Giro della Provincia di Lucca

* 1 Stage Volta a Galicia (Ourense)

* 1 Stage Memorial Cecchi Gori (Rome)

* 1 Stage Tirreno-Adriatico (Paglieta)

- - - - - - - - -

1998 : (1 Win)

* 1 Stage Tour de Romandie (Lausanne)

- - - - - - - - -

1997 : No Wins
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