Bartoli coming out of retirement?
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Bartoli coming out of retirement?

by VeloNation Press at 8:38 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Lately it seems that Lance Armstrong has been inspiring more than cancer survivors. First there were rumors of "Der Kaiser" rising up from the ashes to go toe-to-toe with the Texan "one more time." But they were soon squashed by the man himself, Jan Ullrich. Now, there is something real in the mix involving one of Italy's finest classic's riders.

Just as Il Grillo retires, it seems his mentor Michele Bartoli is set to return to competition once again.

In an interview with Claudio Ghisalberti in La Gazzetta dello Sport, the thirty-eight-year-old cyclist said, "It would a lie if I said that Armstrong has not influenced my desire to return to racing."

He admits that if he did return to racing that it would be purely for fun, and would not change his life. It's a decision that would be largely based on his anonymous exit from the sport in 2004. The Italian admittidly did not function well with Bjarne Riis' approach to teambuilding, as it was something that didn't mesh with Bartoli's usual mental preperations.

He's been training strong with Ivan Basso and Alesandro Petacchi which has given him a lot of encouragement. "Training with friends who know the players in the races gives me even more desire to come back," said Bartoli, admitting that he has the support of his wife should he decide to race again.

If the Italian does come back into the fold it could be for Team Liquigas or LPR based on his current training company. Only time will tell if the Tuscan will try to make up for the one regret of his career, winning Paris-Roubaix.

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