05 December 2009

Troubles for the Quintessential Euro Cyclist?

They say that bad things come in threes.

First it was my shoulder injury last week.

Then it was James' rear wheel rim dying this morning.

Now I read the news that Paolo Bettini, former world champion/olympic champion/Italian champion and recently retired one-day classic racer, is being investigated for 11 million Euros of tax evasion. The old "I live in Monaco" scam. People always forget requires that it requires that you actually LIVE in Monaco (or at least outside of Italy), if you don't want to pay Italian tax on all those winnings and that endorsement money.

I've always thought that Paolo was a special cyclist. He is the clearly the inspiration for the Official Rules of the Euro Cyclist -- could never have been compiled were it not for him, with his gold accented world champion's shoes and helmet. (I was reminded of the rules recently thanks to an email from F2P of Singapore forwarded by our friend David M. at RGT Enterprises, importer of Assos and other Euro-approved gear -- see the display at Cycle Mode).

Of course, I exaggerate Paolo's role. I should also give top billing and extra credit to Mario Cipollini, another former world champion, who serves as an even greater inspiration to the Euro cyclist than Paolo. So I was amused to read that Mario, too, is now being investigated for tax evasion, along with some other Italian sports heroes, though Mario must be a little embarrassed that his evasion is so much, um, well, SMALLER than Paolo's, and happened so long ago.

You would think if these guys all wanted to claim Monaco residence and given how they like to pose for the cameras, they would at least get together for a photo op in Monaco (maybe with Rebellin and the other F1 drivers), instead of at the start of a Tour of California stage.

Some photos of Paolo and Mario in happier Euro cyclist days (thanks to Google's image search engine):

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