Tales from the peloton, March 18, 2009
Michele Bartoli's name is synonymous with success in the Classics during the late 1990s. Victories in de Ronde, Liège and Lombardia give him a unique perspective on the sport's biggest one-day races. He tells Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown how he thinks this season's momuments may unfold and who to look for at the head of the field.
One of Italy's best Classics riders, Michele Bartoli has remained involved in cycling since his retirement in 2004. He keeps a keen eye on the latest developments and trains with some of those riders who maintain his legacy of succeeding in the sport's monuments. It's no surprise then, that the 38-year-old has strong views on who will perform well in 2009's one-day events.
The man from Pisa has the stats to back his opinions, with wins in three of cycling's five Monuments - the Ronde van Vlaanderen (1996), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (2002 and 2003) and the Giro di Lombardia (2002 and 2003). Add two World Cup titles (1997 and 1998) to the mix and you've got a man well-qualified to comment on the best of this season's strongmen.
Bartoli examines the possibilities for Milano-Sanremo, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège according to the routes, his memories of these races and those riders who are suited to winning a one-day battle.