Italian national director and former Paris-Roubaix winner Franco Ballerini, 45, died in Larciano, Italy, this morning due to injuries suffered in a rally car race.
Ballerini co-piloted a rally car driven by Italian Alessandro Ciardi when they went off course and crashed around 8:30.  According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, both were taken to a hospital near Pistoia, but Ballerini died despite the help of medics.
As a national director, Ballerini guided Italy to five wins since taking the post in 2001: The World Championships in 2002, 2006 – 2008, and the 2004 Olympic road race.  He raced professional for 16 years, winning the one-day Paris-Roubaix classic in 1995 and 1998.

 franco ballerini

Franco Ballerini riding to victory in Paris Roubaix

  • steve clarke

    What a sad loss.
    Condolences to his family and friends.

  • Mike Revill

    Devastated to hear of the loss of a truly great rider.A true Italian legend,A true strongman with class .The world of cycling as lost a legend

  • mick

    Very sad to hear of the passing of this great man. He will be greatly missed by the world of
    Cycling and the Italian team in particular. Deepest condolances.

  • Matt

    Tragic. The greatest Paris-Roubaix rider of his generation in my opinion. I was a big fan of his since Duclos narrowly beat him in 93, when Franco was clearly the strongest man in the race. Every year after that I always cheered him on and saw him win it twice. Another one of my heros gone too soon.