"He was the best," was the simple, but revealing statement from Riccardo Riccò of Saunier Duval. Even though the rider was left off the Squadra Azzurra for the Worlds, he gave his sincere compliments to his compatriot, who has now won two consecutive titles. This was last achieved by another Italian, who started his 1991/92 campaign with a win ... in Stuttgart.
"He was the strongest. The last kilometres were a true masterpiece." Riccò was impressed in that the Italian captain "did not commit any mistake and made use of his experience and his irresistible ideas in the last kilometres" to defend his title.
In addition to his complements for Bettini, Riccò clarified how impressed he was with the team. "Obviously a praise to the whole team, that has done an exceptional work. If we wouldn't have won it would have been unjust," the rider from the Modena region added. He also liked the tactics laid out from Franco Ballerini and the way the team responded. "We had all the pressure on our shoulders, so we took control of the race from the first to the last kilometre. We demonstrated to everyone how a World Championships is raced."