Monday, December 18, 2006

Dream Team

Paolo Bettini, Italian, age 32, the current Olympic and World champion.

Tom Boonen, Belgian, age 26- the 2005 World champion.

Two of the greatest one day racers in the peleton. Between the two of them they have won almost 100 races, including:

Liege-Bastogne-Liege (Bettini twice)
Tour stages (Bettini and Boonen)
Giro stages(Bettini)
Vuelta stages (Bettini)
Paris-Roubaix (Boonen)
Flanders (Boonen twice)
Milan-San Remo (Bettini)
Giro Lonbardia (Bettini)

Spring classics, Fall Classics, stage wins in almost every stage race and of course World Championships. Any director would be ecstatic to have one of these riders on his team let alone both of them.

There was some speculation that Bettini would leave Quickstep this year, but he did not. Most likely because Quickstep is one if not the best in the Classics. They make no bones about it. In fact, their manager, Patrick Lefevre has publicly claimed that Quickstep is the best classics team.

The challenge for Lefevre is going to be how and when to give both of these talented racers their own opportunities to shine. A quick review of Quickstep's 2006 line-ups revealed only Milan-San Remo where the two rode together. However, this year both Bettini and Boonen have indicated that they both want to win Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Certainly, the team sponsors want the rainbow jersey to be at as many races as possible. Last year with Boonen and now this year with Bettini.

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