Sunday, 7 February 2010
Really saddening news has just come through on the wire, Franco Ballerini has died while being involved in a car crash while in a rally in Tuscany. For more on the news see Cyclingnews.
He was a special rider in the Classics winning Paris Roubaix twice ('95 & '98) Second ('93) and a Third in '94. He also won Het Volk in '95, making that a special year, and also won Paris Brussels in '90.
In recent years he will be remembered for bringing harmony to the Italian National squad. So often Italy would be the favorites but somewhere it would go wrong. He steered victories in '02, '06-'08 and made the Squadra Azzuro a force to be reckoned with on any Worlds Course. He seemed to be able to make the difficult decisions to get the result. Franco seemed to command the respect of the riders that led to success when it mattered most.
I am sure that Italian Cycling and Cobble lovers the world over will be mourning the sad news. My best wishes go out to his family.
Franco Ballerini (December 11, 1964 – February 7, 2010)