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Bettini confirmed as Italian national coach

By:
Stephen Farrand
Published:
June 16, 2010, 21:00 BST,
Updated:
June 16, 2010, 22:29 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, June 17, 2010
World Champ Paolo Bettini uses San Sebastián to test his Olympic fitness.

World Champ Paolo Bettini uses San Sebastián to test his Olympic fitness.

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Former world champion replaces the late Franco Ballerini

Paolo Bettini has been named as the new Italian national coach ahead of a full, formal presentation, taking place in Rome on June 23.

The former Olympic and double world road race champion was confirmed in the role by the Italian Cycling Federation and replaces the late Franco Ballerini who was killed in a car rally accident in February. Bettini had to resolve a dispute with the Italian tax authorities before he could be named for the position.

Bettini will act as a role model and ambassador for Italian cycling as well as be responsible for selecting and managing the men's professional road and time trial team. He is expected to travel to Australia to see the course of this year's world championships.

Bettini is now 36 and comes from La California in Tuscany. He raced as a professional from 1997 to 2008, retiring after teammate Alessandro Ballan won the world title in Varese.

During his career Bettini was affectionately nicknamed' il Grillo – the cricket – because of his attacking style. He dominated one-day races thank to his sharp tactical mind and fast sprint finish. He won Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2000 and 2002, Milan-San Remo in 2003 and the Tour of Lombardy in 2005 and 2006. He won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympic in the road race and then took back to back world titles in 2006 and 2007.

Bettini worked closely with Ballerini when he won his Olympic and world title and will now inherit his influential role in Italian cycling.

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