Pavé Franco Ballerini.

1998, Paris-Roubaix...
Eventual winner, Franco Ballerini leading the charge 
over the pavé.

One of my favorite toughmen of the pavé has to go to the Italian Franco Ballerini. He died tragically last February but his memory is firmly etched into all cycling fans as an heroic two time winner of Paris-Roubaix.

Winner twice (1995 & 1998) and podium twice (1993 & 1994). He was tantalizingly close to winning in 1993 when the race turned into a final sprint in the Velodrome against the veteran Gilbert Duclos-Lasalle. He lost by centimeters and threatened not to return. Youthful emotion? Thankfully he changed his mind and decided to return to his beloved cobbles for more punishment .... and glory.

There's a French blog called, 'Le blog de l'Ardoisier' that's worth to check out. It's here that I found out that Paris-Roubaix organisers will have a special award called, 'Pavé Franco Ballerini' to present to the highest placed Italian rider at this Sunday's race.

 Can Alessandro Ballan be the first?

A worthy hommage to the great rider!


Jason said…
With Pozzato out Ballan has a great chance to come in as the first Italian although I reckon Manuel Quinziato also stands a great chance.
Richard said…
Quinziato has been riding well too!
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Bianchista said…
pozatto is apparently riding now, i think he will take the award, but would be great to see quinziato take it too!

looks like ballan wont be able to take it after all the commotioneminating from italy...

cant wait, will be a fab race for sure!
simon lamb said…
Great stuff thanks for this info I didnt know about it.

Hope you are well..

Richard said…
Hi Bianchista,

Pozzato looks like the top Italian out of the whole bunch! I'm having pavé fever!
Richard said…
Hi Simon

It's a great idea to honor the man Ballerini!

Hope you are well too, I can't wait for Sunday to start!