Bettini heads to Mendrisio
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bettini heads to Mendrisio

by Steve Jones at 10:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
Two-time world champion Paolo Bettini will be joining Italian team director Franco Ballerini in Mendrisio, Switzerland as an assistant director at this year's world championships.

Since his retirement in 2008, Bettini has limited his involvement in cycling to commentary on Italian television station RAI. But back in August, the 35-year-old told the Gazzetta dello Sport that he wanted to get back into the sport in a more active roll, perhaps as director for the Italian national team.

"I would like to take over for the current team director Franco Ballerini. He is very good, but if it stops, I would love to take his place," Bettini revealed.

Under Ballerini's direction Italy has won an incredible four world championship jerseys and an Olympic gold medal - three of the five gold medals being won by Bettini. Even though Ballerini has shown no signs of slowing down, he realizes the value of having the man they called "il grillo" at his side saying, "To go to a great event without him seemed strange."

Italy has been on a roll, taking the World Championships for the last three years. Paolo Bettini took the honors in 2006 and 2007, and Allesandro Ballan in 2008. No country has won the race in four years in a row.

The course in Mendrisio, Switzerland has two climbs, the Acqua Fresca and the Novazzano, on a short 13.8 kilometer circuit the riders will have to navigate 19 times.

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