Farnese Vini-Selle Italia manager Luca Scinto has said that he would like to be considered for the role of Italian national coach whenever his former MG Technogym, Asics and Mapei teammate Paolo Bettini steps down from the position. Bettini was appointed in 2010, following the tragic death of Franco Ballerini.
“Becoming commissario tecnico [national team coach] has always been my dream,” Scinto told Tuttobici. “I don’t want to pull the rug out from under my friend Bettini, who I really respect, but if and when he wants to step down, I would like to be taken into consideration for his job.
“Without doubt, there’ll be people reading this interview who will say that I’m getting a big head or that I’m full of myself, but I’m simply being honest. A lot of people would like that job. I have the courage to say it and propose myself to [Italian federation president Renato] Di Rocco.”
Scinto was part of Ballerini’s first world championship-winning team at Zolder in 2002, and said that his fellow Tuscan had inspired him to dream big when he began to manage amateur squads on his retirement at the end of that season.
“Years ago, for a joke, my friend Franco Ballerini said, ‘You’re growing well, should I be worried that you’ll take my job one day?’ I was a directeur sportif with the amateurs and we were joking, but it was always an honour for me to wear the blue jersey and a big ambition to manage the national team.
“I’m not lacking in desire and I think lots of riders would be happy with me as a candidate. It would be wonderful, because of the ties that bind me to Franco, to follow in his footsteps and follow through on that joke which would mean so much for me. I think the first people to support me would be his wife Sabrina and his children, who know me well and know that I was a real student of his.”
Discussing Bettini’s choices for the London 2012 Olympics, Scinto said that he would have selected Moreno Moser (Liquigas-Cannondale) but not Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), though he prefaced his analysis by stressing that “criticising afterwards is too easy, I’m simply expressing my ideas.”
Scinto’s own Farnese leader Filippo Pozzato was not available for selection after he confessed to the Italian Olympic Committee that he had been trained by the controversial Dr. Michele Ferrari for four years, but Scinto said that he “would have dug in more to have him ride because I’m certain he’d have been in contention for a medal.”
In more global terms, Scinto said that he was in agreement with aspects of Bettini’s approach to the role but suggested that he would try to be closer to the riders. “Paolo’s working well, and I agree with his decision to have training camps to create team spirit,” he said. “But personally I would have more young riders and I would live the races a bit more. I’d go in team cars with the directeurs sportifs of the guys in contention, I’d go to the team hotels, I’d go to their houses, I’d bring them for dinner and I’d talk with them like Franco used to do.”
Scinto’s Farnese Vini team has lost Andrea Guardini to Astana for 2013, although it has been linked with both Alessandro Petacchi and Francesco Chicchi in recent days. Filippo Pozzato’s contract expires at the end of the season, but his future remains undecided until the Italian Olympic Committee decides whether he should face suspension for his links to Michele Ferrari.
“If Bettini continues with his mandate, I’d be happy for him. If he leaves, I’d seriously like to be taken into consideration,” Scinto said. “I’d only leave Angelo Citracca and our team for the call of the national team.”