Franco Ballerini’s body to be exhumed for insurance inquiry
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Franco Ballerini’s body to be exhumed for insurance inquiry

by Ben Atkins at 12:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
 
Court orders Italian legend to be disturbed

franco balleriniAn Italian court has ordered that the body of the late Franco Ballerini is to be exhumed in order to help with some insurance companies’ investigations, according to la Gazzetta dello Sport. The classics legend turned national team coach was tragically killed in a crash in the rally of Larciano on February 7th last year and the insurance companies apparently need to look for some details connected to the accident.

Ballerini’s body is buried in the cemetery of Casalguidi di Pistoia, to the west of Florence in his native Tuscany. The exhumation was originally planned for yesterday but the judge has ordered it to be postponed for a week.

As a rider Ballerini was one of the sport’s hardmen, specialising in the cobbled classics of northern Europe. His biggest, and most defining victories came in the 1995 and 1998 editions of Paris-Roubaix; also finishing 2nd to Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle in a photo-finish in 1993, and 3rd behind Andre Tchmil in the epic race of 1994.  On his retirement at the 2001 edition of the race he crossed the finish line with his jersey unzipped revealing the words “Merci Roubaix” on his undervest.

The Tuscan achieved arguably his greatest feat after his retirement though, as he became the coach of the Italian national team and managed to unite his apparently un-unitable countrymen. He oversaw World Championship victories for Mario Cipollini (2002), Paolo Bettini (2006 & 2007) and Alessandro Ballan (2008), as well as Bettini’s Olympic gold in Athens in 2004.

As a long-standing rally fan, Ballerini often acted as co-driver in races as a hobby. He was doing this alongside Alessandro Ciardi in February last year when the fatal crash happened.

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