The Tour de Pologne has decided to observe a memorial to Franco Ballerini, the Italian national cycling team manager who died tragically last February 7th after an accident during a rally race, his greatest passion after cycling.
Czeslaw Lang remembered his friend and ex-team mate as the Tour de Pologne memorialised a great man and serious professional who gave so much and left so much to the world of cycling. This is the spirit of the message announced by the organisers of the Polish stage race.
"Franco began his brilliant career when mine was just coming to an end - explains Czeslaw Lang, General Manager of the Tour de Pologne -. But we were lucky enough to meet and race together wearing the Del Tongo-Colnago jersey (1988) and the Malvor-Sidi-Colnago jersey (1989-1990). After that I became in 1991 his sports director on the Del Tongo-MG Maglificio . I understood right away that he had talent and I knew he could do great things. Franco was an exquisite person both form a human and professional standpoint, who you could compare notes with and talk to even outside of the cycling sphere. I'm proud to have known him and to have been able to race by his side."
The third stage of the 67th Tour de Pologne, scheduled for Tuesday, August 3rd on the course from Sosnowiec to Katowice for a total of about 130 km, will be dedicated to Franco Ballerini.
"He was a champion who had style both on a bike and in everyday life - continues Lang -. The third stage with arrival at Katowice will be dedicated to him. As a national team manager he always honoured our race as a useful phase for determining the physical fitness of his athletes as he vetted the national team for the world championships at the end of September. Now sadly Franco isn't with us any more, but his memory will stay with us as an example, especially to young cyclists who are just getting to know the bike world."