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Legends of Roubaix: Franco Ballerini
© Bettini photo
Hailing from the Tuscan city of Florence, Franco Ballerini was one of Italy’s premier Classics specialists in the 1990s alongside Andrea Tafi and Michele Bartoli. His ability riding the cobbled and windswept roads of northern France and Belgium brought him a Paris-Brussels victory in 1990.
Then, in 1993, riding for the GB-MG Maglificio team, coached by Roger De Vlaeminck, Ballerini rode a close-fought Paris-Roubaix where he lost out to the more experienced Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle by a fraction of a wheel in a velodrome sprint. Although afterwards Ballerini threatened not to ride the race again, he returned to the cobbles and, riding for Mapei, won in both 1995 and 1998. In his last major race, the 2001 edition of Paris-Roubaix, Ballerini was given a standing ovation in the Roubaix velodrome and unzipped his jersey to reveal a t-shirt saying 'Merci Roubaix'. He loved the race and was a true Monsieur Roubaix.
Ballerini went on to coach some great Italos such as Cipollini, Paulo Bettini and Allesandro Ballan, as head of the Italian national squad or Squadra Azzuri. Tragically, Ballerini died as a result of injuries from a car rally crash in 2010. A legendary rider and one of the finest to grace the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix.
- 2 be clear that was @johnherety decision to not let @AaronBuggle start. Tour of Korea and Irish National Champs will be his next rendezvous
- Happy to report @AaronBuggle is as good looking as ever after 13 stitches in his chin. Sorry to report not letting him start tomorrow though
- @flammecast @AaronBuggle His Shrone is fine !!!
- Big thanks to all marshals,coms and medical staff on the @anpostras today. Great work despite the numerous demands on their services today.
- Just to let all his girl fans know @AaronBuggle is ok. He's in hospital and will need some surgery on a cut to his chin. Will update later.
- We've just added 13 new rides since the weekend to our Rapha #womens100 Find a Ride list. → http://t.co/ux8c1JCuQc
- The team also racing the Ras in Ireland this week. Currently Aaron Buggle is the team's top placed rider in 15th overall.
- Tour Series resumes tonight in Stoke on Trent. RCJ line up is House, Clancy, McCallum, English and Mellor.
- Arboretum → http://t.co/cJXOyDWnK0 #raphasurvey #sanfrancisco #sf #cycling
- There are still a few of these sweet Rapha + Raeburn jackets at the SF @raphacycleclub. http://t.co/C2d98yCRL0