Paolo Bettini (born 1 April 1974 in Cecina, Livorno, Tuscany) is an Italian former (twice) UCI World champion. Considered the best classics specialist of his generation, and probably one of the strongest of all times, he won gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics road race and in the 2006 and 2007 World Road Race Championships.
His major wins were: UCI World Road Championships (2006, 2007), National Road Race Championships (2003, 2006), Olympic Road Race (2004), Liège–Bastogne–Liège (2000, 2002), Milan–San Remo (2003), Giro di Lombardia (2005, 2006), Clásica San Sebastián (2003), HEW Cyclassics (2003), Züri-Metzgete (2001, 2005). He also won 1 individual stage in the Tour de France, 2 individual stages at the Giro d’Italia and points classification twice (2005, 2006) and 5 individual stages in the Vuelta a España.
Paolo Bettini is nicknamed “Il Grillo” (“the cricket”) for his repeated sudden attacks and his sprinting style.