Davide Cassani has named his former Ariostea and MG-Technogym directeur sportif Giancarlo Ferretti as an adviser to the Italian national team. The announcement came in Camaiore, Tuscany, where Cassani is holding his first gathering since he was appointed as Italian road coach following the resignation of Paolo Bettini at the turn of the year.
“I rode for Giancarlo for five years and I really learned a lot from him, so I’ve asked him to be my adviser,” Cassani told Tuttobici. “I’m new in this role, not only as national team manager but as a coach, and I want a valuable man next to me, a consigliere who can help me above in terms of management.”
Nicknamed the “Iron Sergeant” for his supposedly authoritarian approach to team management, Ferretti spent thirty years as a directeur sportif at Bianchi, Ariostea, MG-Techogym and Fassa Bortolo, where he guided Moreno Argentin, Rolf Sorensen, Michele Bartoli, Bjarne Riis, Pascal Richard and Alessandro Petacchi, among others.
Ferretti’s management career was not without its controversies, however. In 1997, he was fined by the Italian Cycling Federation after doping products were found by police during a search at the MG-Technogym hotel at Carano Fiemme during that year’s Giro d’Italia.
When Fassa Bortolo withdrew from cycling in 2005 – the year of Dario Frigo’s second doping arrest while at the team – Ferretti began to put together a new team supposedly under the sponsorship of Sony Ericsson, only for it to emerge that he had been the victim of a hoax. Gilberto Simoni and Stuart O’Grady were among the riders who had been poised to sign with Ferretti.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, Marco Velo told Gazzetta dello Sport that he will serve as a time trialling coach in Cassani’s Italian set-up and said that he hopes to combine the role with his current work on RCS Sport events, where he rides the motorbike at the head of the race.
“There’s no conflict of interests,” Velo said. “In fact, being in the races and amid the action, can only keep me up to date with the riders.”
A triple Italian time trial champion, Velo tested positive for salbutamol after winning the title in 2000, but successfully appealed against any sanction. Velo, who raced with Marco Pantani at Mercatone Uno, later became an important part of Alessandro Petacchi’s lead-out train at Fassa Bortolo and retired from cycling in 2010 after two seasons with QuickStep.