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R.I.P Franco Ballerini

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May 30, 2009
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RIP Franco

Going to dig out my old Mapei kit and ride a ride in memory.
I recall he team in Singapore one time who took out time to say hello to my 8 yo daughter when we recognised them in a hotel lobby.

Class acts all.
Winning not one, but two, PRs would be enough to merit a mention in the annals of cycling history. He was truly a man of the pave'.

Yet it was his remarkable record as DS of the Italian national team that made him a great cycling mind: 4 world championships (Cipollini, Bettini, Bettini and Ballan) and an olympic gold medal (Paolino again) between 2002-2008.

His achievment and secret was getting the notoriously unweildy squadra italiana to function like a cohesive, single goal oriented unit, where riders were willing to sacrifice their own ambitions for the glory of Italian cycling. And in Bettini, principally, Italy was glorified more often than not for Ballerini's success. For this reason he and Bettini, in the later's own worlds, had developed into something like surogate brothers. They even shared a now fatal passion for rally car racing.

A fatalist would conclude that it was meant to be. At 45 years old with his success and a wife and two kids, who could argue with that.


Jun 16, 2009
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Il Grillo

It's official - His Successor is known !