We got on the phone Paolo Bettini, which certainly needs no introduction: In cycling, few have managed to win as much as in online races. From the 2004 Athens Olympics, to the double world championships (Salzburg 2006 and Stuttgart 2007), Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2000 and 2002 and the Lombardy Tours in 2005 and 2006, just to name some of his most illustrious successes. With Grillo, we head towards the impending World Cup in Australia.
This is perhaps the first time in history that Italy has presented itself to the World Cup with very little chance of winning: remember a similar situation in the past?
“I have heard a lot that Paolo Petini is missing from Italian cycling, but in my opinion it is not the case. Italy has always had good national teams, unlike this year we are definitely not the favorites on this track. Online testing is a requirement, it is a course I know it because it was a training area during the Sydney Olympics in 2000. I also spoke with coach Daniele Benatti – whom I know very well – and he confirmed that it would be a difficult track and that compared to other national teams, we find it more difficult.”
Who is your favourite?
“Van Aert, Evenepoel and Van der Poel are among my favourites. Alaphilippe does not take a linear approach to playing in a third World Cup.”
Is it Jeremy?
“It might be another name, but maybe the course is a bit demanding for a rider like him. Biniam is an undiscovered kid and I think he himself doesn’t know his limits yet. This year he has made a huge leap in quality, he is an excellent rider, however, he will have to He also has to bear in mind that he doesn’t have a great national team at his disposal.”
Italy lacked a man who was quick and able to respond to the various attacks of Van Art, Van der Poel and Evenpoel. How should our national team run to try to turn the race around?
“When you start and others are the favourites, you have to work 100% and take advantage of the opportunities that arise, even at the cost of making mistakes. I won by not starting as the favourite, but I threw myself and things went well. Example? At the Grand Prix in Zurich in 2001, where a jockey like Francesco Casagrande was more preferred than me, but I attacked, thus creating the right opportunity.”
In your opinion, will Filippo Gana be the frontrunner in the time trial?
“Filippo has great potential, but I seem to have realized that in the last trials he has not been as brilliant as usual. However, the world championship is a race in itself and he will definitely be one of the favorite men on the podium.”
Evenepoel can cause Ganna to be hard, but will he tire out in your opinion after the Vuelta? The test against time Seven days after arriving in Madrid…
Evenepoel comes from the Grand Giro – who acts as a real leader – and three weeks to make the arrangement consumes not only physically, but also psychologically, and therefore in my opinion he will be able to push something in the online test. But for the trial period, in my opinion, that gives you a little Of the extra money, which is funding that Ganna may lack. It’s clear that traveling to Australia right after the Vuelta would be such a long flight and the time zone wouldn’t be a walk in the park.”
Lately, there’s something we’re seeing from Battistella and Piccolo: What’s the idea of these two guys?
“They are two men who are an asset to us. Italy has not had teams on a World Tour for many years now, and that means not giving our kids the chance to do the great sport of cycling. Young people need to be made to grow, they need to be protected and a little pampered. We also need to ask ourselves. About the real state of cycling in Italy, to have a great nursery we need teams on top of it that can be a drag.”
Photo: La Presse