Although the Italian federation has yet to formally confirm him in the role, Max Sciandri has said that he is looking forward to taking over as coach of the Italian national team.
The previous incumbent, Paolo Bettini, has already signalled that he will assume the new position of general technical director at the federation, and he publicly recommended Sciandri to take over as coach to the elite men’s team, or commissario tecnico, in January.
“It still has to be confirmed officially but I can’t wait to start the new project,” Sciandri told Radio Sportiva. “I’ve already been coach with the British national team, and that was a role that helped me to grow and it added to my professional experience for the future.”
Sciandri is currently a directeur sportif with BMC and he explained that he will continue in that role until the Giro d’Italia, before devoting himself to his duties with the Italian national team.
“I won’t be a part-time manager, my role will be full-time and I will always be present at the races,” he said. “I expect an intense programme up to the Giro with the team and then I can focus my energies on everything. In any case, I will always be at races and I think that can be an advantage when it comes to evaluating the condition of the riders.”
The squadra azzurra, traditionally the point of reference at world championships, endured disappointing outings at Copenhagen and Valkenburg in 2011 and 2012, but Sciandri said that there is plenty of talent at his disposal.
“We’re not lacking in raw material in Italy. However, there are riders who need international experience in big tours or classics so as to grow beyond the Italian scene and complete their development as professionals.”
Meanwhile, Paolo Bettini has explained the rationale behind his decision to step away from direct control of the elite men’s team and into a more supervisory capacity in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport on Saturday.
“I understood that I could do more by working not only with the professionals,” Bettini said. “Cycling is in difficulty in Italy and yet the bike itself has never been so fashionable. We need to tie these two worlds together.
“We also need to convince coaches that youngsters should be helped and not pushed too hard. It’s not about looking for champions and results at all costs anymore, but about patience and enjoyment.”