Paolo Bettini: “Modern cycling had courage to change”

Italian great Paolo Bettini believes that after years of being cited as one of the most drug-stricken sports, cycling now stands out for what it has achieved in the fight against performance-enhancing drug use.

“I think cycling in this moment is the best sport. It’s a very good sport, [but] it’s impossible to say it’s totally clean. The sport has worked hard to change the mentality. Not only the riders, but the teams and all the components have a different mentality.”

“Modern cycling had courage to change, but other sports have not the courage for change. It’s impossible to say that the doping problem is finished. It’s important that the mentality has changed. All aspects of cycling have changed and they have a new approach to professional sport.”

Bettini won the world road title twice (2006, 2007) and Olympic Games road race once (2004). Add to that, three World Cup series victories (2002, 2003 and 2004) and nine one-day classic wins  – the Liege-Bastogne-Liege (2000, 2002), the Giro di Lombardia (2005, 2006), Milan-San Remo (2003), and the Clasica de San Sebastian (2003).

He also won grand tour stages – one in the Tour de France, two in the Giro d’Italia and five in the Vuelta a Espana.