Remarkable: Bettiol helps Pogacar, with two teammates in the leading group

Remarkable: Bettiol helps Pogacar, with two teammates in the leading group

Thursday 7 July 2022 at 13:53

A remarkable image in the final of the cobblestone stage to Wallers. EF Education-EasyPost’s Italian Alberto Bettiol at one point drives next to Tadej Pogačar, shouts something to him and then takes the lead very hard. Nothing wrong with that in itself, were it not for the fact that Bettiol had two teammates in the leading group and leader Rigoberto Urán was behind.

The tweet from team boss Jonathan Vaugthers afterwards was very telling. “This is going to be an interesting debriefing,” the American tweeted. Already during the ride, commentators – Robbie McEwen in particular – were asking questions about Bettiol’s behavior. The Australian even wondered aloud whether the Italian had not already signed a contract for 2023 with UAE Emirates, the team of Pogačar. “It is not doneit stinks,” said McEwen about the move (see below) of the EF driver.

After the meeting, Vaughters came back to the incident, he tells VeloNews. “I don’t think he had any bad intentions. I think Alberto got a little too excited. It’s been a long time since he had good legs. He’s had some serious health issues, but those are behind him now. Alberto felt fantastic. He lost his mind a bit in that. It was his mistake to take the lead there. But we’ve talked it all out and we’re looking forward.”

However, the American – who had Magnus Cort and Neilson on behalf of his team in the leading group of six – that the situation would have been different if Powless had just missed the yellow. He is now second on thirteen counts. “Neilson didn’t lose the yellow because of Alberto’s actions. That would only have been the case if Pogačar had been the leader now. But look at Wout van Aert, who returned to the race under his own power and defended his jersey. The Belgian therefore deserves the yellow jersey.”

The main character in question also reacted to the incident at La Gazzetta dello Sport† “Tadej said to me: ‘Let’s go, Alberto!’. I told him I couldn’t be too hard in the front because I had two teammates up front. I just wanted to break the peloton,” said the Italian, who said he had the legs without a flat tire to follow Pogačar and Jasper Stuyven. His first reaction was that he put his gear to avoid crashes and the opportunity to drive towards the leading group.

At the start of the sixth stage, Bettiol returned to his course from the day before at the request of various journalists. “In the end I made a mistake and I apologized to Neilson,” he said. The Italian continues on his way.