Ballerini dies in crash

The Italian national cycling team coach Franco Ballerini died on Sunday following a car crash during an amateur rally race in Larciano near Florence.

45-year-old Ballerini was taking part as a navigator in a rally early Sunday when his car swerved off the road and crashed. After attempts to save him, he was taken to hospital where he died.

Ballerini had been a successful cyclist twice winning the Paris-Roubaix classic in 1995 and 1998. He had been head coach of the Italian national team since 2001 and led themto one Olympic gold and four world titles: Mario Cipollini in 2002, followed by Paolo Bettini in 2006 and 2007 and Alessandro Ballan in 2008.

Mr Ballerini leaves a wife and two children.

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