Bettiol returns to Slipstream 'family' with EF Education First-Drapac

Italian raced with BMC for one season following three years on Vaughters' teams

After a season on BMC Racing, Alberto Bettiol will return to the Slipstream-owned EF Education First-Drapac team where he previously raced from 2015 through 2017. 

The 24-year-old Italian joined Canondale in 2014 when he was just 19, then moved to the Slipstream team when the two programs merged. Bettiol signed with BMC a the end of last season when Slipstream's Cannondale team was in danger of folding.

“Alberto showed great promise when he was with us,” said Slipstream CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He was climbing near the best at the 2017 Tour de France, and he was a key part of our Classics team. He got a bit derailed in 2018, but we are going to get him back on track.

“Alberto and his family were really a part of our family,” Vaughters added. “I understood when he left in the precarious situation we were in last year, but now that we’re out of that, I’m really excited to have him back."

The talented all-rounder has reached the podium at GP Plouay and Tour de Pologne, and he’s finished in the top 10 at Gran Prix Quebec, Gran Prix Montreal, Classica San Sebastian and E3 Harelbeke.

“I’m ready to pull on argyle again because it’s important to me to finish what I started last year and never quite completed,” he said. “The argyle family believed in me since the very beginning, and I feel that it’s my best choice to return to where it all began.”

Although the team competes under a new title sponsor and with several news riders, Bettiol said he's excited to return to the familiar environs of the Slipstream team.

“I know nearly everyone on the team already, and I’m happy to get to know the new guys.” Bettiol said. “In many ways I feel like I never really left, so it won’t feel strange at all to come back. You understand what is important when you lose it, and I’ve learned a good group spirit is very often stronger than a single power.”

Bettiol hasn't competed in any Grand Tour this year with BMC, so he's hoping for return to the three-week races next year with EF Education First-Drapac, especially the Tour de France, where he finished fifth in the uphill sprint on stage 3 in 2017 with Vaughters' team.

“And I hope for a better result than the one we achieved in 2017,” Bettiol said, referring to team leader Rigoberto Uran's second place overall that year.

Bettiol said his new teammates will soon see he's a strong ridder for the team and a good guy to have around in general.

“I love my job, and I’m loyal to good people,” he said. “I’m super happy when I get a result, but at the same time, when a teammate achieves a goal thanks to my work, I’m equally happy.

“I love my country, Italy, and my family is an anchor for me,” he said. “I also love to travel. In the future, I dream about living somewhere in California. Being from Italy, the Giro is very important to me, so pink has always been my favorite color. I’m happy now to have a new reason to love pink.”

RUNNING WITH WOLVES from Cyclingnews Films on Vimeo.

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