Bettini: “Nobody Can Beat Us”
Mapei left cycling and a new team is born – Quick Step-Davitamon, a team that seems designed for the one day races. There are riders like Johan Museuuw, Frank Vandenbroucke, Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini, the ‘grillo’ (that’s “cricket” for you non-Italians – ed.). At their first camp in France, Bettini was watching and thinking “if we will be a real team, nobody can beat us”. The winner of 2002 World Cup believes in his new team, also he will have many strong team-mates in one day races, “we’ll work fine in the Classics, and the others won’t be able to keep our wheels. Here there are riders that have nothing to learn about one day races, and I shouldn’t say this, but I think that there’s no one other team as strong as us in this kind of competition. Also because I’m sure we will work together, without envy and rivalry. Take for example Johan Museeuw: I don’t know if he will stop after next spring, but I’m sure he won’t fight against me for the World Cup. And Tom Boonen, he’s very young, but he has a great body and his 3rd place at last Roubaix speaks for him. He will be important in the races when he will be ahead”.
And about himself? “I’ve nothing to demonstrate to others, just to myself. I’m arrived at a level, and now I’ve to stay here. I will run to win the World Cup again and the 2 victories that I miss: Milano-Sanremo and the World Championship. I think that I can win also in a sprint but only if there will be a hard race. This year there weren’t Dekker and Di Luca, that could have helped me in this way”.
But after Lisbon, he is thinking about the World Championship in Canada, “it’s a track designed for me, but it’s impossible now to do a program until October. I need only to be quiet as I’ve been until now”. For him it’s his first time not in an Italian team but “there are many people from Mapei like Lefevre, Parsani and Peeters. I’m only afraid that 99% we won’t run the Giro. In 6 years of career I never won a stage. Before retiring, I wanna win a stage at Giro d’Italia”.
And how does a rider prepare that wants to run in a great way in the Classics? “I will prepare like last year, even if last year I got a lot of little problems. I will start in Doronatico, Toscana, at my home, with my supporters. They are waiting to see me with the World Cup jersey”.
But his supporters will have for sure the chance to see him wear it also in 2003.