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Bettini close to becoming new Italian coach

Paolo Bettini - from world champion to national trainer?

Paolo Bettini - from world champion to national trainer? (Image credit: Shane Stokes)

Former World and Olympic champion Paolo Bettini looks likely to become the new Italian national coach after the tragic death of Franco Ballerini in early February.

After having already admitted his interest in the job last August, the now-retired Italian icon seems close to inking a deal with the national federation. Last week, Italian media spread a rumour that federation president Renato Di Rocco had announced "Il Grillo" as Ballerini's successor, but Bettini backpedalled.

"I feel very honoured that the federation and its president Di Rocco have thought of me to take over Ballerini's role, but nothing has been concluded yet," said Bettini to Cyclismag.

Remaining humble, it seems Bettini may have doubts about his capabilities to shift from a rider's to a director's role. "I have been lucky enough to win the Worlds and the Olympics with Franco [Ballerini], but it is one thing to be a rider and win and another thing to be a good technician," he reportedly added.