Paolo Bettini is likely to continue as Italian national team coach at the world championships in Florence in September before handing over the reins to Max Sciandri in 2014, according to Italian Cycling Federation president Renato Di Rocco.
In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Di Rocco said that Sciandri, who is currently a directeur sportif at BMC, will be an “external collaborator” with the federation this year, while Bettini will continue as national team coach before stepping into the role of general technical manager next season.
Di Rocco was speaking ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the federal council of the FCI in Rome, where he hoped Sciandri’s position would be ratified.
“I’ll propose to the council that Sciandri immediately becomes an external collaborator to Paolo Bettini,” Di Rocco told Gazzetta. “In agreement with hi team [BMC], we will establish the days that he will work with Italy so that Sciandri can talk with the various Italian coaches, set down his plans and bring his experience.
“Bettini will remain as commissario tecnico [national team coach] this year and will then become the general technical director. So we’re establishing a first relationship with Sciandri and we will go forward to Florence. Then we’re hoping that when the season finishes in the autumn, he can become commissario tecnico on a full-time basis.”
Earlier this week BMC issued a denial of any offer from the Italian federation for Sciandri. "I have no official offer from the national federation," Sciandri said. "Until there's an offer, my obligation is with the BMC Racing Team." Although BMC team general manager Jim Ochowicz offered his support of the hiring. "Should he be offered a position with the Italian Cycling Federation, we would be happy to support his decision," Ochowicz said.
Di Rocco also admitted that he is an admirer of RadioShack-Leopard manager Luca Guercilena and hinted that there could be a position for him with the national set-up if rumours of RadioShack’s demise at the end of the season prove to be with foundation.
“I’ve always told him, ‘You’re someone that I’d really like to have,’” Di Rocco said. “With us he could oversee preparation, training, methodology and materials for all categories.”