Michele Bartoli

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Michele Bartoli
Michele Bartoli.jpg
Bartoli at the 2009 Tour of Flanders
Personal information
Full nameMichele Bartoli
NicknameIl Leoncino delle Fiandre (in Italian)
(The Little Lion of Flanders) (in English)
Born (1970-05-27) 27 May 1970 (age 50)
Pisa, Italy
Height1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight65 kg (143 lb; 10 st 3 lb)
Team information
Current teamRetired
Rider typeClassics specialist
Professional teams
1992–1995Mercatone Uno–Medeghini–Zucchini
1999–2001Mapei-Quick Step
2002–2003Fassa Bortolo
2004Team CSC
Major wins
Grand Tours
Giro d'Italia
2 individual stages (1994, 1998)

Stage races

Three Days of De Panne (1995, 1998)
Tirreno–Adriatico (1999)

One-day races and Classics

National Road Race Championships (2000)
Giro di Lombardia (2002, 2003)
Liège–Bastogne–Liège (1997, 1998)
Tour of Flanders (1996)
La Flèche Wallonne (1999)
Amstel Gold Race (2002)
Rund um den Henninger-Turm (1997)
Brabantse Pijl (1994, 1999)
Giro dell'Emilia (1996, 2002)
Züri–Metzgete (1998)
GP Ouest–France (2000)
Omloop Het Volk (2001)
Milano–Torino (2002)
Giro del Lazio (2003)


UCI Road World Cup (1997, 1998)
Medal record
Representing  Italy
Men's road bicycle racing
World Championships
Bronze medal – third place 1996 Lugano Elite Men's Road Race
Bronze medal – third place 1998 Valkenburg Elite Men's Road Race

Michele Bartoli (born 27 May 1970, in Pisa) is a retired Italian road racing cyclist. Bartoli was a professional from 1992 until 2004 and was one of the most successful single-day classics specialists of his generation, especially in the Italian and Belgian races.[1] On his palmarès are three of the five monuments of cycling – five in total: the 1996 Tour of Flanders, the 1997 and 1998 Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the 2002 and 2003 Giro di Lombardia. He won the UCI Road World Cup in 1997 and 1998. From 10 October 1998 until 6 June 1999, Bartoli was number one on the UCI Road World Rankings.[2]

Considered one of the most versatile riders of his generation, Bartoli won a variety of classics. He won most of the major Italian one-day races – apart from Milan–San Remo – and was Italian national champion in 2000. In Belgium, he excelled in both the cobbled classics of Flanders and the hilly races in the Ardennes, which earned him the nickname Il Leoncino delle Fiandre ("The Little Lion of Flanders").[3] In addition to the classics, Bartoli has also won stage races, such as Tirreno–Adriatico and the Three Days of De Panne, and won two stages in the Giro d'Italia. He finished third in the world championships of 1996 and 1998.[4]


1993–1995: Mercatone Uno[edit]

Bartoli joined Mercatone Uno–Medeghini–Zucchini as an amateur stagiaire in late 1992, signing his first professional contract starting in January 1993. He was competitive immediately, winning the overall and 3 stages at the first stage race he started, the 1993 Settimana Siciliana .

His breakthrough year was 1994, when he won the Brabantse Pijl, his first semi-classic win, and the thirteenth stage in the Giro d'Italia. In 1995, his star rose to prominence in the one-day classics, with fifth place in Milan–San Remo, seventh in the Tour of Flanders and third places in Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the Giro di Lombardia. He won the Three Days of De Panne and placed ninth overall in the Vuelta a España.[5]

Bartoli won the UCI Road World Cup in 1997 and 1998.
(pictured at the 1997 Paris–Tours)

1996–1997: MG–Technogym[edit]

In 1996, he joined the MG-Technogym team of manager Giancarlo Ferretti. He became a specialist of the classic races and claimed his first career monument win in the 1996 Tour of Flanders after an attack on the Muur van Geraardsbergen and a 16 km solo to the finish.[6] In summer, he was 19th overall in the Tour de France, before winning the Italian summer classics Giro del Veneto, GP di Larciano and Giro dell'Emilia. He finished third at the World Championships in Lugano behind Johan Museeuw and Mauro Gianetti.[7][8]

In 1997, Bartoli won his first Liège–Bastogne–Liège, after distancing his last breakaway companion, Laurent Jalabert, in the final kilometre.[9] His slender built (179 cm and 65 kg), combined with his feline ability to accelerate on steep climbs, made him the quintessential contender for the hilly Ardennes classics.[10] At the end of 1997, he won the UCI World Cup, confirming his status as the most regular classic race specialist.[11]

1998: World number one with Asics[edit]

In 1998, he transferred to the Asics team and had the most successful season of his career. He won his second Liège–Bastogne–Liège, again before Laurent Jalabert, after a long solo attack.[12] In May, he won the GP of Aargau Canton in Switzerland and the thirteenth stage in the Giro d'Italia. Later in the year, he won Züri Metzgete, his second World Cup race of 1998,[13] as well as the Giro di Romagna, and finished third in the World Championships in Valkenburg behind Oskar Camenzind and Peter Van Petegem.[4] He ended the season as world number one on the UCI Road World Rankings and won his second consecutive UCI World Cup.[14] During his years with MG and Asics, Bartoli was helped by his friend and team mate Paolo Bettini, who became Bartoli's prime lieutenant in the races.

1999–2001: Mapei[edit]

In 1999, Bartoli and Bettini joined Mapei, the most successful classics team of the 1990s.[15] He won Tirreno–Adriatico, the Brabantse Pijl and the Flèche Wallonne in the spring of 1999, but failed to win a monument race. In the 1999 Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Bartoli, seeking his third consecutive win, was distanced by rising star Frank Vandenbroucke and finished fourth behind his helper Bettini.[16] In May 1999, Bartoli broke his kneecap in a crash in the Tour of Germany, which ended his season.

He returned to racing in 2000, but his Mapei team mate Paolo Bettini demanded a leading role, eventually leading to a feud between the two friends. In the summer of 2000, he won the Italian National Championship in Trieste and the Grand Prix de Plouay, before entering the Olympic road race in Sydney. Helped by his Italian team mates Bettini and Danilo Di Luca, he won the sprint for fourth place, finishing just outside the medals. He repeated his fourth place at the World championships.[17]

In 2001, Bartoli won Omloop Het Volk early in the season, but failed to win another major spring classic. He left Mapei – exceptionally mid-season – to re-join Ferretti at the new Fassa Bortolo team. In October 2001, Bartoli and Bettini's rivalry culminated during the world championship road race during which Bartoli refused to work for Bettini. Bettini finished second in the sprint behind Spaniard Óscar Freire; Bartoli was 23rd.[18]

2002–2004: Final years[edit]

With Fassa Bortolo, he re-lived some of his former successes by winning the 2002 Amstel Gold Race and the 2002 and 2003 Giro di Lombardia.

In 2004, he moved to Team CSC but failed to claim a victory.[19] In the 2004 Tour de France, he abandoned during the 18th stage after being called back by manager Bjarne Riis from a break to protect his captain Ivan Basso.[20] Bartoli ended his professional career at the end of the 2004 season, suffering minor injuries.[21] He stated: "I just wasn't motivated to continue... I can't be a top level rider any more and that was a major influence on my decision, rather than my recent physical problems."[22]


In 2005 Bartoli gave his name to the Granfondo Michele Bartoli in the province of Lucca, with the start and finish in his hometown Montecarlo, Tuscany.[23] Bartoli is, with former cyclists Francesco Casagrande and Maximilian Sciandri, instructor of the Campagnolo Passion 2 Ride.[24]

Doping allegations[edit]

In May 2007, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Bartoli was linked with the Operación Puerto doping investigation into the practices of Eufemiano Fuentes. According to the report, it was alleged that Bartoli was the rider behind the nickname "Sansone". The report continued that Bartoli received two blood transfusions from Fuentes in 2003.[25]

Major results[edit]

1st Overall Semaine Sicilienne
1st Stages 1 & 5
1st Stage 14 Giro d'Italia
1st Brabantse Pijl
1st Grand Prix Pino Cerami
1st Criterium d'Abruzzo
1st Jersey white.svg Overall Three Days of De Panne
1st Stages 1 & 2
1st Tour of Flanders
1st Giro dell'Emilia
1st Grand Prix de Fourmies
1st GP Industria & Artigianato di Larciano
1st Stage 1 Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria
1st Stage 5 Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Mens World Cup leaders jersey.png Overall UCI Road World Cup
1st Liège–Bastogne–Liège
1st Rund um den Henninger-Turm
1st Trofeo Laigueglia
1st Stage 4 Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Stage 5 Tour Méditerranéen
1st Mens World Cup leaders jersey.png Overall UCI Road World Cup
1st Jersey white.svg Overall Three Days of De Panne
1st Liège–Bastogne–Liège
1st Züri–Metzgete
1st Giro della Provincia di Reggio Calabria
1st Giro della Romagna
1st Grand Prix of Aargau Canton
1st Stage 14 Giro d'Italia
Tour Méditerranéen
1st Stages 2 & 6
1st Jersey yellowred.svg Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
1st La Flèche Wallonne
1st Brabantse Pijl
1st Stage 3 Vuelta a Andalucía
1st Stage 4 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
1st MaillotItalia.svg Road race, National Road Championships
1st GP Ouest–France
1st Stage 2 Vuelta a Andalucía
1st Omloop Het Volk
1st Grand Prix de Camaiore
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour Méditerranéen
1st Giro di Lombardia
1st Amstel Gold Race
1st Giro dell'Emilia
1st Milano–Torino
1st Stage 2 Giro della Provincia di Lucca
1st Stage 4
1st Giro di Lombardia
1st Giro del Lazio
1st Stage 3 Tour de Wallonie

Classics results timeline[edit]

Monument 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Milan–San Remo 25 5 12 5 8 64 39 11 45 164 120
Tour of Flanders 41 7 1 7 6 4 96 15 55 16 57
Paris–Roubaix 21
Liège–Bastogne–Liège 3 44 1 1 4 28 59 22 27
Giro di Lombardia 47 3 37 4 4 5 5 1 1 DNF
Classic 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 1
Amstel Gold Race 34 10 28 6 3 15 7 1 16 15
La Flèche Wallonne 7 4 5 1 11 3 40 73
Züri Metzgete 63 2 6 1 11 53 6 34 24
Giro dell'Emilia 1 13 3 13 1 7

Major championships timeline[edit]

Event 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Gold medal Olympic Games Not Held 8 Not Held 4 Not Held
Rainbow jersey World Championships 3 10 3 4 23
Italian jersey National Championships 1 2


  1. ^ "New tricks for an experienced pro". cyclingnews.com. 9 April 2004. Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  2. ^ Historic data of the World Rankings & World Cup Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Bartoli, il Leoncino delle Fiandre sta tornando". sport.sky.it (in Italian). Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Elite Men's Road Race, 258 kms (15 laps)". autobus.cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Results and News for Stage 18 to the Finish". cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  6. ^ McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol. "1996 Ronde van Vlaanderen results". BikeRaceInfo. Cherokee Village, AR: McGann Publishing. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  7. ^ 1996 Road Cycling World Championships the-sports.org
  8. ^ World Road Championships 9-13 October 1996 cyclingnews.com
  9. ^ "Luik-Bastenaken-Luik, World Cup Round 4". cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Great moments in Classics history – the Ardennes Classics". autobus.cyclingnews. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  11. ^ UCI Road World Cup 1997 results
  12. ^ "Luik-Bastenaken-Luik, World Cup Round 4 (265.5 kms). Results and Reports". autobus.cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  13. ^ "GP Suisse, World Cup Round 8. Switzerland, August 23, 1998". autobus.cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  14. ^ "UCI Road World Cup 1998 Final standings". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
  15. ^ "Bartoli and Asics - divorce!". cyclingnews.com. 23 November 1998. Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  16. ^ "Liege-Bastogne-Liege, World Cup Round 4". cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  17. ^ Jones, Jeff. "2000 World Championships". cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Men's World Champion profile: Paolo Bettini". Tour de France blog. 23 July 2004. Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  19. ^ "CSC Ready for Winning Season". CSC. 17 January 2004. Retrieved 5 July 2007.[dead link]
  20. ^ "Stage 18 underway". Tour de France blog. 9 April 2004. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
  21. ^ "Team CSC's Bartoli Ends His Cycling Career". CSC. 24 November 2004. Archived from the original on 14 May 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2007.
  22. ^ "All hail to the warrior. Michele Bartoli bows out of cycling". cyclingnews.com. 9 April 2004. Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  23. ^ [1] Dalla bicicletta ai vigneti Bartoli ha scelto Montecarlo
  24. ^ Instructors of Passion2Ride Archived 3 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Italian paper reports Bartoli is 'Sansone'". Cyclingnews.com. 25 May 2007. Retrieved 7 February 2020.

External links[edit]