Paolo Bettini stepping down as Italian national team coach

Bettini may be preparing to join Formula One driver Alonso's squad, said to be preparing a 2015 debut

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Paolo Bettini will leave his post as coach at the Italian national team to take a role with a professional team, Italian cycling officials confirmed on Sunday.

The 39-year-old Bettini asked the Italian cycling federation to allow him to step down to pursue a new job at an as-yet-unnamed team.

Media reports in Italy have linked Bettini to the project backed by Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, but those are unconfirmed.

Former pro Chechu Rubiera, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, and Oakley rep Kike García have also been linked to possible management jobs for the startup team, set to debut for the 2015 season.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step, managed by longtime boss Patrick Lefevere, could be another natural home for Bettini, who enjoyed some of his best successes with the Belgian director.

The two-time world champion was named as Italian coach in June 2010, following the death of Franco Ballerini in a rally-car accident earlier in the year.

Bettini’s run as national coach during four world championships was inconsistent, with no medals in the elite men’s category, but with more success in the junior and women’s category. Bettini was credited with uniting the often-divided elite men’s world’s squads.

According to media reports in Italy, former pros Davide Cassani and Stefano Zanini could be in line to replace Bettini. BMC sport director Max Sciandri is another possibility.


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