HISTORY: Franco Ballerini

On 7 February 2010 dies Franco Ballerini in an auto race in Larciano where he was participating as navigator for Alessandro Ciardi. He was 45 years old.

Ballerini started his professional cycling career in 1986 by Magniflex. In the first few years of his career, he didn’t win much but in 1990, when he is riding for Del Tongo, he won Paris-Brussel, Grand Prix des Amériques and Giro del Piemonte. He was a rider for the classics and after two years for Del Tongo, he goes to GB-MG Maglificio.  For that team, he was close to a victory in Paris-Roubaix 1993. On the line, he was beaten by Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle in an exciting Paris-Roubaix finale.

Two years later he did win Paris-Roubaix. With 32 kilometres left to go, Ballerini attacks on cobblestones and wins with nearly two minutes in hand. Three years later he won Paris-Roubaix again. It was his last big victory before he ended his career in 2001. After his career he became manager of the Italian national cycling squad, winning the 2002 World Championship with Mario Cipollini and the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens with Paolo Bettini. Bettini did give him two another World titles in 2006 & 2007. In 2008 Alessandro Ballan gives Ballerini his fourth World title as manager of the Italian national team.