He will be missed for sure. I always admired the Italians that loved the pavé, and he was one of my favorites. Best memories were his battles with Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, Museeuw, and Tchmil. That footage of him rumbling down the last sectors to a solo victory in the '98 Roubaix is truly magnificent.
One of the best cobbled classic riders of his generation. It took him a long time to recover from that narrow defeat by Duclos-Lassale in Paris-Roubaix 93Ballerini was the strongest man in the race and was sure he would win in a two-up sprint. After the finish, he thought he had won and set of on a lap of glory, then they looked at the photo finish....with Duclos winning. I think Ballerini swore then he would never return to Roubaix but fortunately he did and won in 95 & again in 98.
North American fans should also note that he won the World Cup GP Ameriques in Montreal in 1990. Good DS with the Italian National team, such tragice news.