Bettini interested in one day becoming Italian director

Franco Ballerini talks to Paolo Bettini (Quick Step).

Franco Ballerini talks to Paolo Bettini (Quick Step). (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Former World and Olympic road champion, Paolo Bettini, indicated in Rome Friday that he would be interested in one day becoming the director of the Italian national team.

“Thoughts of a return [to racing] do not enter my mind, I have truly retired," said Bettini according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "As a sportsman it is an obvious ambition to one day manage a national [team]. At the moment [Franco] Ballerini is in control and everything is going well. After that it may be looked at.”

Bettini retired from professional cycling in 2008 after an 11-year career that included two World Championships (2006, 2007) and Gold at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

He also commented to the Italian newspaper on the recent news of Danilo Di Luca's two positive tests for blood booster EPO-CERA during this year's Giro d'Italia.

"I cannot understand and it is a big disappointment. We know that the controls are there and he had already endured an investigation," said Bettini. "It is a time when cycling is attempting to find [dopers] and it is. But we can't exclude the possibility that a new generation of doping will emerge soon."

Bettini's comments came as he and current Italian national manager, Franco Ballerini, attended a conference between the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) and the Italian Sport Credit Institute (ICS).

Despite the news of Di Luca's positive test Ballerini told La Gazzetta dello Sport he remains confident that the Italian team will be strong at September's World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

"Di Luca is out and that saddens us, but we have a great group," said Ballerini. "Alessandro Ballan is the current World Champion and at the Tour [Rinaldo] Nocentini rode well even after he lost the yellow jersey."

La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Ballerini will remain the head of the Italian national team until at least the London 2012 Olympics.

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