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California Dreamin' - The Paolo Bettini Diary 2005

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Photo: © Quick-Step Davitamon

He's from California, down near the beach, but this guy's no surfer dude. Paolo Bettini is from La California, near Cecina on the Tuscan coast in Italy. The Quick.Step-Davitamon rider had a fantastic 2004 season, winning his third consecutive World Cup and the Olympic Road Race, finishing the World Rankings as number two. Bettini is back on Cyclingnews in 2005 with his exclusive English-language diary.

Winding up for the Classics

Italy, January 15, 2005

Ciao amici of Cyclingnews!

Well our season has officially started, because last Monday we had our team presentation in Tielt, in the heart of Flanders. It was a serious, sober presentation as it traditionally is, and afterwards we had a big dinner with our sponsors and special guests. As always in the beginning of the season, the journalists want to know your season race program and the most important objectives.

Although some of our Quick.Step guys are already "Down Under" with Cyclingnews in Australia for the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, I'm starting my season in Mallorca on February 6 at the Mallorca Challenge, and then Trofeo Laigueglia (15/02), the Tour du Haut Var (19/02) in France and then I'll head north to Belgium for Het Volk.

My entire first part of the season is dedicated to be in top form in the Classics. So right now, I'm actually a little behind in my form than at the same time last year. For me, the biggest races in the first part of the season are the Tour of Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Of course, Milano-Sanremo and other big northern classics like Amstel Gold Race are also where I want to perform well, but if I have a choice, it's Flanders and Liege where I want to shine.

Right now, the team is in another training camp at the Hotel Stella Marina in Cecina Mare. It's the second training camp and now I'm starting to ride a lot. You know already how important it is now to put in the quality training to be able to have some major successes in a few months. Last week I did a test that showed I am progressing well and I'm exactly where I thought I was.

OK thanks for reading and now I'm going to bed; we have a four hour ride scheduled for tomorrow and I need my rest. See you soon!

Ciao,
Paolo