Paolo Bettini to be Italy's new coach
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Paolo Bettini to be Italy's new coach

by Ben Atkins at 12:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 

paolo bettiniPaolo Bettini will be the new Italian national coach, according to De Staandard. Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) president Renato di Rocco has reportedly confirmed to the Italian media that the 35-year-old Tuscan will begin his new role at the beginning of May.

Bettini was the hot favourite to replace his friend Franco Ballerini, who was tragically killed in a rally car accident last month. Rumours were already circulating immediately after Ballerini’s death, but Di Rocco decided to delay the decision for a while out of respect for his memory.

Il Grillo  ("the cricket") served as assistant director to the World championship team in Mendrisio Switzerland last year, having previously expressed a desire to take over from Ballerini should he step down. "I would like to take over for the current team director Franco Ballerini,” he told the Gazzetta dello Sport back in August. “He is very good, but if he stops, I would love to take his place."

As one of the most successful riders of the early part of the century, Bettini won the World title twice, in 2006 and 2007, and the Olympic title in Athens 2004, all under the direction of Ballerini. He was also a three-time winner of the road World Cup, in 2002, 2003 and 2004, before it was replaced by the controversial and divisive ProTour series. His long list of victories also includes Milano-Sanremo in 2003, Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2000 and 2002, and the Giro di Lombardia in 2005 and 2006.

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