'Nobody pointed to me as a probable winner': Remembering Alberto Bettiol's Tour of Flanders heist

The Italian rider talks to Cycling Weekly about his memorable and highly unexpected win at the Tour of Flanders in April 2019

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Just as we are all naturally drawn towards an underdog, we are equally enamoured by a result that makes a mockery of pre-event predictions. It is why, therefore, Alberto Bettiol’s 2019 Tour of Flanders victory had the characteristics of a modern cycling classic; a heist, if you will. A glorious steal of a victory that dumbfounded not just all race previews, but the man responsible for the race.

Wouter Vandenhaute, owner of race organisers Flanders Classics, was asked by a local newspaper in the days before Ronde if a smaller team could win. He said the parcours didn’t suit such an eventuality. Almost prophetically, it was suggested that Bettiol could win. “They are not going to win,” he remarked, referring to the Italian and other outsiders. Oh, poetic.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

A freelance sports journalist and podcaster, you'll mostly find Chris's byline attached to news scoops, profile interviews and feature writing across a variety of different publications. He has been writing regularly for Cycling Weekly since 2013.

Previously a ski, hiking and cycling guide in a number of places, but mostly in the Canadian Rockies and Spanish Pyrenees, he almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.

He lives in Valencia, Spain.