Bettiol extends stay with EF Education-NIPPO
Alberto’s a monumental racer and a friend to teammates
“That’s why I decided to stay. Our fight, our commitment, our goals are difficult to get, but we can do it together.”
For Alberto Bettiol, EF Education-NIPPO is a second family. The 27-year-old Tuscan began his career with the outfit in 2014, when Cannondale was the title sponsor. He has since developed into one of the most exciting racers in the sport. During his early years, he earned a series of good results in one-day races, before spending a year away in 2018. He then returned home in 2019 and won his first monument and first professional race: the Tour of Flanders. Now, after a scintillating Giro d’Italia, in which he won the race’s longest stage with a brilliant solo attack over the hills near Stradella and rode like a lion for Hugh Carthy, he has signed a contract to stay with the team for seasons to come.
“I still would like to win more races,” he says. “I want to win more important races, and with my help to win a Grand Tour. I was close to it with Rigo three years ago. I think we can do it. I will fight myself to get more victories, but also for the team to get a big Grand Tour win.”
Alberto’s fondest cycling memory already occurred in Paris, on the evening he first raced onto the Champs Élysées.
“It was the first time that Jonathan Vaughters met my mom and my dad—in the embassy of America in France,” he says. “My real family met my second family, EF, with all the happiness I still had from finishing my first Tour.”
The feeling that he is a part of a family is important to Alberto Bettiol. “I need to have around me people who trust me, like this team trusts me,” he says. “That’s why I decided to stay. Our fight, our commitment, our goals are difficult to get, but we can do it together. I need the support of all the team.”
With his teammates, Alberto has a special role to play. He is a leader, with the power to win monumental races and change the course of events in grand tours. The other riders look up to him and follow his example. Every time he clicks into his pedals, he has to earn their support. “I am sure I give 100 percent on the road every time,” he says.
But Alberto is a friend to his teammates first. Cycling is a very hard sport, and he knows how to put racing into perspective.
“Sometimes, we forget how lucky we are and how thankful we have to be to all the staff with us. And sometimes we forget that it is just a bike race. Especially when you are under pressure, you sometimes see only darkness. If I can help my teammates to laugh and not think about the dark, I am happy to do that,” he says.
Alberto hopes his exploits on the road can bring comfort and excitement to everyday people, too. After his stage win at the Giro, he encouraged the audience to give a thought to the victims of the Mottarone cable car accident and their families and dedicated the victory to his former agent Mauro Battaglini, who passed away last year and was like a second father to him.
That is something he thinks he can do within the larger EF family as well, which he says, “is not just made by the cycling team but also the thousands of staff.”
Alberto rides for them, and for all of his fans in Italy and around the world. The next seasons are going to be very exciting for him, as he is just coming into his prime.
We’re happy and proud that Alberto Bettiol is one of us.