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The men behind Tirreno-Adriatico (l-r): Captain Vittorio Alessandro, Michele Acquarone (General Manager, RCS Sport), Alfredo Martini (former director, Italian cycling team), Gianni Valenti (Vice Editor Gazzetta dello Sport), Giuseppe Bellandi (Mayor of Montecatini), Mauro Vegni (Chief of Operations, Giro d’Italia)
RCS Sport will honour deceased Italian cycling legend
As this year's edition of Tirreno-Adriatico was launched in Montecatini Terme yesterday, race organiser RCS Sport announced that the 2010 race will be dedicated to deceased Italian national team manager Franco Ballerini
Ballerini died a fortnight ago in a rally accident, where he was navigator for Alessandro Ciardi in the Rally Ronde. The two-time Paris-Roubaix winner has been honoured by Italian riders and race organisers alike, such was his influence in the nation's cycling fraternity.
RCS Sport and La Gazzetta dello Sport have also launched a new classification for the race in honour of Ballerini called the The 'Fair Play' ranking.
Assistant manager of La Gazzetta dello Sport, Gianni Valenti, also announced the imminent publication of the book 'Ciao Ballero' dedicated to Ballerini. It will be on sale from February 22. Editors and photographers have worked on the publication for free, with all proceeds from sales of the book to be donated to the Hospital Meyer in Florence.
The 45th edition of the 'Corsa dei Due Mari' (Race of the Two Seas) features the likes of world champion Cadel Evans, defending champion Michele Scarponi, Samuel Sanchez, plus HTC-Columbia riders Mark Cavendish, Marco Pinotti and Michael Rogers. The 2008 winner, Fabian Cancellara, returns to the race for Saxo Bank whilst his teammate Andy Schleck will also kick off his 2010 campaign at the event.