Paolo Bettini

Paolo Bettini

Former Italian road cyclist
Date of Birth: 01.04.1974
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Paolo Bettini
  2. Early Career
  3. Professional Career
  4. Breakthrough and Success
  5. Champion and Tragedy
  6. Personal Life and Retirement

Biography of Paolo Bettini

Paolo Bettini was an Italian road bicycle racer born on April 1, 1974, in Cecina, Province of Livorno, Italy. He spent his childhood on the Tuscan coast, where he began his career in cycling on the advice of his older brother.

Paolo Bettini

Early Career

Bettini's first bicycle was far from ordinary. It was a homemade frame made by his father, painted in a bright orange color that intimidated other riders. Despite the unconventional bike, Bettini won 23 out of 24 races in his early career. At the youth World Championship road race, he finished fourth, impressing teammates and coaches with his performance.

Paolo Bettini

Professional Career

In the following year, Bettini turned professional with the racing team 'MG-Technogym'. Initially, he played the role of a domestique, a rider who supports and disrupts opponents to benefit his teammates. Working alongside the legendary Michele Bartoli, Bettini helped him win the World Cup in 1997 and 1998. However, a serious injury to Bartoli in 1999 gave Bettini the opportunity to shine, but he only finished in the main group.

Breakthrough and Success

The following year, Bettini won his first major race, the 'Liège–Bastogne–Liège', also known as 'La Doyenne.' This victory earned him a spot in the famous 'Tour de France'. Throughout the next few years, he continued to achieve success in one-day races. In 2001, Bettini defeated the seemingly unbeatable Jan Ullrich in the 'Züri-Metzgete' race.

Champion and Tragedy

The 2001 World Championship was a disappointment for the Italian team due to Bettini's refusal to support Bartoli. In 2002, Bettini reached second place in the world rankings, mainly due to his frequent participation in one-day races.

In the 2000s, Bettini had varying success in races. His notable victories during this period include the gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games and wins in the Zurich Championship and 'Giro di Lombardia'. Tragedy struck in 2006 when Bettini's older brother died in a car accident just days after his World Cup victory.

Personal Life and Retirement

Following his brother's death, Bettini struggled with his racing career. In 2008, he ended his contract with 'Quick Step' due to financial issues and announced his retirement. Since the end of 2010, Bettini has been coaching the Italian national cycling team.

It is known that since 2000, Bettini has been married to Monica Orlandini, and they live on a small olive plantation ten kilometers from his hometown of Cecina.