Max Sciandri has turned down the “opportunity of a lifetime” as the head coach for the Italian national team, deciding to continue on in his job as sport director for BMC Racing Team. The American-based team announced Sciandri's decision in a press release, saying he wanted to complete the projects with the team which he had already started.
Current coach Paolo Bettini recommended Sciandri, who holds both British and Italian citizenship, for the job. Sciandri originally said that he would take up the role after the Giro d'Italia, where he is one of two BMC sports directors hoping to guide Cadel Evans to the overall win. As commisario technico, Sciandri would have selected the riders for events such as the World Championships and Olympics.
"This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make because it was so important to me and it's such an important role for my home country," Sciandri said. "I reached out and touched something that was pretty untouchable for me. But I didn't grab it. I let it go. And that's difficult. But it is only because I am working with a great team that has a tremendous program with a terrific bunch of riders, staff and managers. I am particularly grateful to Jim Ochowicz for allowing me to weigh my options."
Sciandri said that he met personally with Italian Cycling Federation president Renato Di Rocco before the Giro to decline the offer. "It was a tremendous honor to be considered for the job but I told him my passion at the moment is to continue with the development of some of the young guys I am nurturing at the BMC Racing Team," Sciandri said. "I think there's a right time for everything. Unfortunately, the timing at the moment doesn't fall into place with the projects I am already working on that I want to see through to completion."
"We understand how difficult this decision was for Max and we are glad he has chosen to remain a part of the BMC Racing Team family, said BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz.
Sciandri, 46, rode professionally from 1989 to 2004 for a variety of teams. He won one stage at the Tour de France in 1995 and stages at the Giro d'Italia in 1991, 1992, and 1994. He also won the bronze medal in the road race at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He joined BMC in 2011.