I feel this is an inaccurate portrayl of Bartoli. First, they were a great duo-Bettini was happy to be Bartoli's helper and Bettini learned alot from Bartoli. Whe Bartoli hurt his knee- "hurt" is not an adequate description. Filleted like a fish and destroyed would be a better description.
Then Bettini won Liege-Bastone-Liege. Bettini called Bartoli immediately and was very happy for him. With Bartoli injured, Bettini took the reigns. Bartoli didn't like it for obvious reasons (When Lance got booted when he had cancer, did he like it?). After that, they were both "leaders" so of course there will be conflict. You can't have 2 chefs in the kitchen.
As for ability, Bartoli is a great sprinter. He beat Oscar Freire last spring- when Friere was on form. Bartoli is a fantasic climber and one of the best one-day riders there is. Bettini is enjoying stellar success now but that doesn't diminish Bartoli's power. Remember, Bartoli came back to win Amstel from the hands of Lance and Boogie. He broke his hip and came back in the same season to win big again (I think Normandy?).
Bartoli is a great rider who wins and rides with alot of class. That in itself is very rare. He also supports Lance Armstrong's charities and is a great champion of helping others with his celebrity. His philosophy on racing is great and why they call him "THe Warrior" is from a japanese text on combat and discipline.
I love watching Bettini and I'm a fan of his also. Watching Bettini is like Seabuscuit; workmanlike but gets the results and endearing to fans. Bartoli is like Secretarit; amazing on the bike and races like he was born to it.
Both are stellar in my book and a personal feud between men should not affect how anyone feels about them. It was between them.
Originally posted by don d.
Bettini's story is very interesting. If you haven't followed him for a long time, it may surprise you to find out that Bettini was Bartoli's "helper" at Mapei when Mapei was internally divided into two sub-teams, Belgians around Museew and Italians around Bartoli. Then Bartoli hurt his knee and Bettini just blossomed into this superstar. Bartoli was very put out and said alot of silly things in the press, but Bettini has really surpassed Bartoli. He is a better sprinter, and he is a better climber. Bettini has always had the blue collar aura around him while Bartoli seems to like the celebrity style. I am a fan of Bettini and happy for his success.
Bartoli has real style on the bike, maybe a classier rider than Bettini, but his attitude puts me off. If you have never seen Bartoli ride, you have to get a video of him from World Cycling Productions. His victory over Jalabert in the 97 Leige-Bastogne-Leige is truly a remarkable feat. You get to watch two of the best riders of our time, Bartoli and Jalabert.