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Pleasant Rivalry?

One of the biggest stories of the spring has to be the conflicting Ronde van Vlaanderen ambitions of local deity Tom Boonen and World Champion Paolo Bettini. Two extremely high-profile teammates, one monument... and yet, as shown by Bettini's comments to La Gazzetta, via CN, this rivalry appears to contain more love than jealousy:

[Bettini] is training specifically for the day while also acknowledging that he has a teammate perfectly suited for the race, Belgian Tom Boonen "Flanders is a race that I am still missing," he explained. "Flanders is like a beautiful woman. So, it is like I am not an example of beauty, and my build is not so adapted to this course. I have to work to come from behind; I have to court her... It is right that Tom [Boonen] will have the full disposition of the team, but I hope to have my say too."

To the despair of journalists around Europe, Bettini is all about the high road these days, which is not only pleasant but also his best chance at winning Flanders. If he were taking a more selfish approach,* QSI would probably have to get nasty about it to preserve Boonen's rightful place. By being a solid teammate, he'll probably get the respect he deserves and the freedom to take his shot, as long as he can do so without dragging Lotto to the line.

A two-up sprint between the hometown hero and the Italian World Champ to the line in Meerbeke, anyone?

*Disclaimer: I am not saying Bettini has even considered this, OK?