Alberto Bettiol pays tribute to Mottarone cable car victims after Giro d'Italia stage win

The former Tour of Flanders winner also paid tribute to his agent who passed away last year

Alberto Bettiol on the podium after winning stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Luca Bettini/Getty Images)

Alberto Bettiol paid tribute to the victims of the Mottarone cable car crash as well as his former agent who passed away last year after winning his first Grand Tour stage on stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia 2021.

Bettiol (EF-Nippo) has shown throughout this race that he has been one of the strongest riders on almost all terrain, solid time trials, supporting his leader Hugh Carthy in the mountains and performing well on the flat and hilly stages too.

Just a day after looking after Carthy in the mountains, where he was the last man with him, staying by the British rider's side all the way to the line, the Italian Bettiol went into the breakaway and put in a sensationally strong showing.

>>> Peter Sagan explains why he didn’t go for breakaway on stage 18 of Giro d’Italia 2021

Speaking after the stage he said: “It really means a lot for me, for my team and for the people that always believe in me. It’s a gift that I want to give to my former agent Mauro Battaglini who passed away last year, he was like a second father to me so this victory is for him. For sure, he looks at me from the sky. I also want to give a thought to all the victims in the Mottarone cable car and all the families."

It looked for all the world that Bettiol was going to be fighting it out for second place after French time trial champion, Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) went on the attack with 26km to go, but Bettiol worked at it and soloed over the Frenchman before dropping him on the final climb.

“I’m also one of the best time trialists in the world," Bettiol fired back, "But no, the final was really hectic because a lot of guys looked at me with everyone in my wheel and I was sure that a strong guy like Rémi Cavagna would try something.

“But fortunately it’s the third week of the Giro d’Italia and fortunately the final was really hard so I can use my legs that have come back after struggling earlier in the race.

“In the end I caught him and I immediately attacked. I was really at a block but I tried to hit him mentally. In the end, I was scared of Nico Roche, he is also a friend of mine but in the final, he didn’t really help me, which is okay.

“I had Matti Breschel in the car to help me and drive me really well, he was one of my team-mates when I won the Tour of Flanders and now he’s my sports director so it’s also a gift for him.”

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.