Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  
Tour home
Live coverage
Start list
Stages & results
Map & profiles
Tour diaries
Features & tech
Tour history

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

Click for larger image
It's not easy being #1
Photo: © Chris Henry

California Dreamin' - The Paolo Bettini Diary 2003

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.

Bettini is a compact, power packed explosive puncher of a rider who conquered the World Cup title last year and in 2003, il grillo (the cricket) has won Milan-San Remo, the Italian road championship and is currently the #1 rider in the world. Cyclingnews is honored to welcome the likeable "fuoriclasse" Paolo Bettini as a diarist for 2003 Tour de France.

Finalmente! The Tour is underway

July 6, 2003

Finally the Tour de France is underway! Hey Cyclingnews readers, it's been a long time since I've sent you a diary, but I'm looking forward to telling you about my Tour de France this year.

It's been pretty hard to get things going for us riders at the Tour. Paris, which is truly a splendid city, is not a great city for cyclists. For sure, the start of the Tour de France was pretty special and there were huge crowds along the course. Personally, I did OK and didn't lose much time to the prologue specialists.

It was a very fast prologue course without any technical difficulties to speak of. The second part of the prologue was totally straight... but above all, it was a special day for me to get to race with my new maglia tricolore of the Italian champion and I have to admit I had some strong feelings about the moment.

My teammates all told me that my new jersey looked good, especially the layout of the shorts. We were blabbing about that a lot around our team table. Well, back to the race: unfortunately, our prologue experts didn't go that well. Laszlo (Bodrogi) was 17th and Michael Rogers was 19th; we were hoping for better but it's no problem anyway. For both guys, they'll have possibilities in the upcoming stages to do something and Michael is really young so he'll have other chances in the future to go for another prologue win.

Today we wanted to do something since the serious action is now underway at the Tour de France and we raced hard over 170km. In the finale, me and Luca Paolini talked and decided he would go for the sprint today. But it didn't work out since we lost contact with 600 meters to go. I was 4th, so that's not too bad, but I was out in the wind over the last kilometer since I was leading out Luca. My form is really good, so I'm looking to do something really special in the next few days.

Ciao a tutti,