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Italy's cycling team coach Franco Ballerini dead at 45

PISTOIA, Italy - The Italian Cycling Federation says national team coach Franco Ballerini has died following a car crash during an amateur rally race.

The federation said on its Web site that the 45-year-old Ballerini was taking part as a navigator in a rally early Sunday when his car swerved off the road and crashed. Medical staff at the track spent 45 minutes trying to revive him before he was taken to a hospital and declared dead.

The driver, Alessandro Ciardi, was also taken to the hospital with a reported fractured pelvis.

Ballerini had been head coach since 2001 and led the team to one Olympic gold and four world titles.

He is survived by his wife and two children. - AP

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