Today at the Greek Embassy in Rome, former professional cyclist Paolo Bettini unveiled his latest endeavour: a solo cycling trip across Greece to celebrate his 50th birthday and the 20th anniversary of his Olympic gold medal. Bettini, renowned for his achievements in cycling, expressed his excitement about this unique journey during the announcement.

Paolo Bettini shared, “It’s an important day for me because, here at the Greek Embassy, what Elena (Greek Honorary Consul in Livorno) and I conceived a few months ago in the context of cultural exchange between two countries through sport has come to fruition.”

The trip, planned to span 12 stages and cover a total of 988 km with an altitude difference of 10,600 metres, will see Bettini traverse from Thessaloniki to Athens, circumnavigating the Peloponnese. The route includes significant historical and cultural landmarks such as Mount Olympus, Sparta, Olympia, and Athens, where Bettini famously won his Olympic gold in 2004.

Reflecting on the significance of the journey, Bettini remarked, “If I am an Olympic champion, it is because someone invented the Games so many years ago. Returning to the place where they were born, but this time as a cyclist, touching sites and places of historical and cultural importance, allows me to retrace my first 50 years in Greece.”

The idea for this adventure originated from a meeting with Elena Konstantos, who suggested Greece as the perfect destination for Bettini’s celebratory ride. “I had already decided that for my birthday this year I would treat myself to a trip somewhere in the world. After meeting Elena, the destination was immediately clear. What better place than Greece to celebrate two important anniversaries,” Bettini explained.

Paolo’s journey will be supported by several sponsors who have provided him with specialised equipment. Sportful has supplied the clothing, Lazer the helmet, SIDI the shoes, and Shimano the 3T bike, which features a unique livery inspired by ancient Greek games. “We created this bike especially for Paolo’s project. It is inspired by the Games, but not so much by modern games as by ancient ones, as a tribute to the places where Paolo will ride,” said Carlo Donadoni, 3T’s Marketing Manager.

Gianpiero Peron from UTurn Investment expressed his delight at Bettini representing their brand, stating, “We are very happy to have Paolo as our ambassador because he represents excellence in sport and, I would say, also in human terms. With his generosity and simplicity he allows us to have a completely transparent exchange on what the world of cycling is all about.”

Bettini’s journey will commence in Katerini on 26th August and conclude in Athens on 6th September. As he embarks on this personal and historical adventure, Bettini’s words resonate with his enduring connection to Greece: “I must thank Ambassador Elena Sourani and Consul Elena Konstantos for this incredible opportunity and for welcoming us to their Embassy this morning.”