Ballan's rainbows days over, big plans remain

Alessandro Ballan plans for wins in Paris-Tours, Lombardia

Italy's Alessandro Ballan has big plans for the season's finale despite ending his year in the rainbow jersey of World Champion last week. On Saturday, he raced for the first time in over a year in Lampre-NGC's trade team colours at the Memorial Cimurri.

"I miss the jersey a little bit. It had become normal for me to put it on before a race," Ballan said to Cyclingnews. "But the rainbow stripes will remain prominent around my jersey's collar and sleeves. It will be a small reminder."

Ballan won the rainbow jersey of rhe World Champion last year in Varese, Italy. A virus stopped him from racing and showing the colours in the spring, but he fought back with a stage and overall win in the Tour de Pologne.

Saturday's Cimurri went well, but he is already looking ahead to the big one-day Fall Classics: France's Paris-Tours on Sunday and Italy's Giro di Lombardia on October 17. Ballan is neither a pure sprinter nor speedy climber, but he counts himself as a contender for the victories.

"Paris-Tours has the small climbs in the finale, and it's not guaranteed to end in a sprint, so, I will try to anticipate the sprint," he said. "At Lombardia last year, I was not very confident, but I arrived with the first guys. I think the race fits my characteristics."

He and three-time winner Damiano Cunego will lead Lampre's Lombardia team. Ballan's last race in Lampre's blue and pink colours will be the Giro di Lombardia since in September, he signed with BMC Racing for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

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