Saturday, October 16, 2021
HomeInterviewsPaolo Bettini - World Road Champion

Paolo Bettini – World Road Champion

-

Sometimes it’s difficult to get an interview, especially if your target is World Road Race Champion, Paolo Bettini.

He has a Quick Step entourage with him and he’s testing his new Specialized road bike for 2007. But us VeloVeritas guys are persistent, and after stalking him all afternoon I was granted just five minutes of his precious time.

Paolo’s compatriot and team mate for the race, a former Grenoble Six-day winner himself, Marco Villa, helped out with the interpreting.

Paolo Bettini
Paolo’s Porche – well, what else would a World Champ drive?

When Paolo turned pro, he was initially Michele Bartoli’s right hand man in the MG-GB squad…Good times?

“Yes, at that time Michele was a big rider and I was just learning my job.

“So yes, it was a good time for me, and Michele was a great rider to learn from. We are still friendly but he has retired now of course.”

This must be your best season ever?

“It has been a good season, yes. But 2003, 2004 and 2005 were all good also with the Olympics, Liege, Zurich and Lombardy. You must look ahead to the years to come for the one past is now just another season.”

VeloVeritas were at Salzburg and witnessed your incredible win in the world Road Championships – tell us a little about that day.

“The World Championship has been a target for many years, but this is the first time it has gone to plan. On the last lap I attacked on the hill, but this was to make the sprinters suffer and to make a selection.

“I knew it was too far and the course was too fast for me to ride alone to the finish. I was sure I could win but I knew I had to split the group and lose the sprinters. Of course it worked out for me at the finish.”

Paolo Bettini
Paolo is nabbed by the French Press.

Also Lombardy was a special performance…

“Yes, I have won Lombardy before, of course, but this was a very particular victory.

“The events leading-up to it with winning the Worlds and then the terrible death of my brother made it a very special, very emotional day for me.”

This is your first Six-day race, what are your impressions so far?

“Yes, it is a new world for me, very different; the first day was very strange and difficult, but each day I have been improving a little so now it is becoming interesting and exciting as I learn more and more.

Paolo admitted to being just a little concerned about all the crashes on the first night.

Unsettling?

“Well, it is the same on the road. Remember that I am a sprinter and sometimes the finishes are very dangerous, so this [track racing] is not so bad.

And then we had to wind it up because it was massage time. Maybe the next time I get to talk to Paolo I won’t be a runner [working for the riders], and I’ll get to ask the rest of my questions.

Meanwhile, many thanks to Paolo and to Marco Villa for their time.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Grenoble Six Day 2011 – Sixth Night

Last day - it's not a big programme, sprint series, team time trial and the closing 180 lap chase. By six day standards that's not a long chase, around 38 K - at Copenhagen they have 300 lappers on a 250 track - but here, it's heavy duty for the small teams. Franco reckons that Kris and I should have dinner in the track centre, tonight - well, it sounded good to me.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012 – Day Six, and it’s Peter Schep on top

Peter Schep / Wim Stroetinga win, Franco and Mouris second, Stam/Havik third - a result which everyone is pretty happy with. The Dutch winners are the classic Six Day combo - big, strong, mature, silky smooth Peter Schep and the younger, smaller, more erratic but rapid Stroetinga.

Alex Rasmussen – Calling Time on Professional Cycling

He's been one of the outstanding track riders of the last decade, world champion four times across three disciplines‎ - scratch (twice), madison with Michael Mørkøv and team pursuit. ‎There's been a raft of national, European and World Cup titles and podiums not to mention an Olympic team pursuit silver‎. On the Six Day scene he's won in Berlin, Bremen, Copenhagen, Ghent and Grenoble. ‎And that's before we mention his road palmarés - two stages in the Dunkirk Four Day, the GP Herning, Philadelphia... But Alex Rasmussen has called 'time' on all of that and will race this season on a low key domestic programme.

Charline Joiner – Pushing Past the Pain Barrier

VeloVeritas spoke recently to Commonwealth Games Team Sprint Silver Medallist Charline Joiner after her ride at the Rotterdam Six Day.

Gent Six Day 2012 – Sunday Finale

The final day of the Gent Six Day 2012 promised a big tussle between the Belgian World Madison Champions De Ketele / Van Hoecke and local hero Iljo Keisse with Glenn O’Shea. They didn’t disappoint.

Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007 – Day 5

I've arrived; Matt Gilmore said "hello" to me today here at the Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007 - wow! It's the Chocolate Jacques team presentation during the six tonight and Matt is here as part of that gig. "Rambo" is here too - Niko Eeckhout, last June in Antwerp at the Belgian elite champs he was in the break with Boonen; the Tomeke fans had their man as a cert to win.

At Random

Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 9: San Giorgio nel Sannio – Frosinone 171km. Pippo causa una caduta!

It looked to us like Cav and Goss were out of it anyway. There were a lot of riders round that wild bend in Frosinone before we saw Matt on the deck and Pippo looking a tad sheepish as he stood in the road checking to see how that nice Cipollini had stood up to being dropped.

The Skin Suit – AKA The Olympics in L.A.

The Olympics in L.A. Mission Viejo, Sunday July 29th 1984 and Alexi Grewal wins the 190 kilometre Los Angeles Olympic Road Race for the United States in front of an estimated 300,000 home fans. It should have been the start of a magnificent career for the talented man from Aspen, Colorado, but it didn't work out quite like that. Despite contracts with some of the best teams of the era-Panasonic, 7-11 and RMO-and flashes of brilliance, his Euro career never caught fire and he returned to the USA. The wins came there, but to knowledgeable observers, his was always an example of unfulfilled genius.

Super 6 Series – Event 6, East Saltoun

On a day more suited to a November cyclo-cross, than a 'summer' road race, those Pedal Power boys did it again; Gary Hand topped and tailed the Super Six in taking the East of Scotland Championship at East Saltoun, having won the first round-also in East Lothian-back in the spring, whilst series leader, Gordon Murdoch built upon an already unassailable points total, in second spot.

Are we ready yet? Are we ready yet? Can we start yet?

Are we ready yet. Two days out from the start of the Tour. The whole team has arrived at the hotel, and the Show is about to begin! It's very exciting, but not much is really going on.

Rudi Altig

In the passing of Rudi Altig from cancer on June 11th 2016 from cancer at 79 years-of-age, Germany and the sport of cycling have lost one of it’s giants. He was a man who could win everything from his nation’s amateur national sprint championship to the Vuelta by way of the world professional pursuit and road race titles, Monuments and Six Day races.

Rory Townsend – Third in Classic Loire-Atlantique

Irish professional, 23 year-old Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes) took third in the UCI 1.1 French Cup, Classic Loire-Atlantique behind French riders, winner Rudy Barbier (Israel Cycling Academy) and man-on-form, multiple recent podium finisher, Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ). We caught up with Rory to hear his tale, before he won the East Cleveland Klondike GP and - just today - finished third in the Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic...