Alberto Bettiol had started his season with good sensations and with the second place in the overall standings at the Etoile de Besseges, then things got complicated for the Tuscan of EF Education-EasyPost: Covid forced him to a long stop. Bettiol then hung up the number on the jersey at the Milan-Turin and Sanremo, and then continued with Coppi & Bartali, Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Giro delle Fiandre. Precisely at the start of the latter, in Antwerp, Bettiol had declared that he did not feel among the favorites of the race (he who won it in 2019, ed) and that he was not yet in full shape.
How will your calendar continue?
“I will do the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, for the moment this is the April program”.
After Covid-19, what sensations did you have in running?
“I raced in Besseges, then went to Teide and tested positive for a quick swab. I isolated myself for ten days and then when I got home I started training but I struggled to find the right condition. I was back in the running for the Milan-Turin but not with good sensations. It took me longer to recover, I couldn’t get my heart rate up in training and do more than three hours. When I tried to do four / four and a half hours the next day I was devastated ”.
It was a start to the season with many absences. Who for the positivity to Covid, who for bronchitis, who for a gastrointestinal virus. Why do you think?
“We talked about it and I think it is all due to the fact that for two years we have always used masks and now that we start taking them off we are more exposed and weak. The doctor advised me to get the flu vaccine and so I did, in fact this year, apart from Covid, I had nothing “.
This year before the Tour of Flanders you declared that you were not in full shape. You won La Ronde in 2019, after which you had various problems that forced you to stop. Will this season be the season of redemption?
“This season had started well, even above expectations. I have a bit of regret because the condition was excellent to face the first part of the season. A lot has happened to me in the last two years and so I’m used to dealing with the unexpected. In 2020 I did a good World Championship, last year I won a stage at the Giro (the Rovereto-Stradella, ed) but I expect more. I hope the second part of the season goes better than the first. I would like to be able to face a smooth season. I have certainties from an athletic point of view: if I train well, without hitches, I am among the best and of this I am sure. However, there are still many races this season, we’ll see how it goes ”.
Did you put the World Cup in your sights?
“Yes, absolutely. I have always been strong at the World Cup and also this year I hope for a call-up by coach Bennati. We will talk about it later, towards the end of July, as I have always done in recent years together with my team “.
Can Bettiol in top form play with a Pogacar and Van der Poel?
“Yes, with a Pogacar in Flanders, no in Liège. With Van der Poel yes. When I am well I have no reason to be afraid of anyone. Van der Poel, Van Aert and Pogacar are champions but if I am well I know that I can play my cards and therefore give a hard time. Obviously you have to be in the best condition “.
At the end of the season you will be happy if …
“I will be happy if I have done some good performances always managing to give my best. Now I know I’m not in my best condition but we hope to find the right pedal stroke soon. I’ve been watching the World Cup in Australia since last year. It is a path suited to my characteristics, at least on paper. Quite narrow, winding, with a fairly short tear and a technical descent “.