Friendly, reserved and a bit shy but on the run with crystal clear class, intelligence and a special grit. Michele Bartoli he was a real King of the Classics. In one day’s, Bartoli’s curriculum is among the most prestigious: five Monument Classics (Tour of Flanders in 1996, Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1997 and 1998, two Tours of Lombardy in 2002 and 2003) and other important Classics such as the Freccia Vallone (1999) and the Amstel Gold Race (2002).
What is the best memory of your career?
“The best memory is my first professional victory at the Giro di Sicilia in 1993. There, at that moment, a world opened up to me.”
And the ugliest one instead?
“The knee injury in 1999. Since then I have never been able to get back to 100% condition.”
What did you miss to win the World Cup?
“Luck and team strength. There was a little lack of coordination with my team mates with whom you are not used to racing as with your teammates. However, not having won the World Cup is not a big regret. “
Who was the strongest runner you faced?
“Laurent Jalabert. He has always fought until the last meter, even if he realized he was not the strongest. He was always waiting for the finish line. ”
With whom did you stay on good terms?
“Honestly with everyone. I have a different relationship with Alessandro Petacchi because we also met outside racing, as well as with Luca Scinto. ”
How has cycling changed today?
“Cycling in the athlete has changed little. On the other hand, a lot has changed in the management of the teams: they are no longer at a family level but there are many new figures within the teams. Each sector now travels independently, before there was the General Manager who managed everything. Today, however, the Manager surrounds himself with people he trusts and capable of in their work and then leaves free management without always having everything under control. ”
Italy is coming back from an important 2021. Who would you target for stage races?
“Right now, I really don’t know. Giulio Ciccone is growing and at the moment he is our best exponent for the future but we also need more. ”
Can Vincenzo Nibali fight for the podium at the Giro or will he go hunting for stages?
“If Vincenzo finds the right year and the necessary motivation, he could still win the Giro but we can’t always ask him everything. A little too much is always asked of him and only of him. We need to start looking a little elsewhere even if at the moment I don’t know in which direction. But I am confident about Ciccone. ”
Can Filippo Ganna become the modern Moser at Paris-Roubaix?
“Surely. To make a further upgrade, Ganna must start aiming for the Belgian cobblestone campaign and must not wait. He is the right rider. ”
Is there anyone else among the Italians we can bet on this season?
“Sonny Colbrelli in my opinion will be able to reconfirm himself and Andrea Bagioli will do great things. We don’t know its limits yet, but it will be a nice discovery. ”