After Spain's Paco Antequera and Belgium's Jose De Cauwer resigned from their positions as national coaches this week, Italy's Franco Ballerini will not have his contract renewed by the Italian cycling federation. In Madrid on Sunday, Italy realised its second worst result ever in the men's road race, with Paolo Bettini's 13th place only being "exceeded" by Giuseppe Saronni's 17th place in the 1983 World's. Italy did not score any medals in any of the other races either. Nevertheless, since Ballerini became national coach in 2001, his riders have scored gold medals in the 2002 World's (Cipollini) and 2004 Olympics (Bettini), silver in the 2001 World's (Bettini), and bronze in the 2004 World's (Paolini).
The Italians also have a new federation president in Giorgio Di Rocco, and Ballerini's sacking is part of the federation's restructuring, which will begin mid-October. It's not yet known who will take his place. Ex-World Champions Giuseppe Saronni and Moreno Argentin have been named as candidates.
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