Petacchi and Scarponi head twin Lampre-ISD challenge at Tour de France
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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Petacchi and Scarponi head twin Lampre-ISD challenge at Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 7:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Sprints and climbs targeted by Italian team, Lloyd also selected

Alessandro PetacchiSix-time stage winner and 2010 Maillot Vert Alessandro Petacchi has been confirmed as heading the Lampre-ISD team’s sprint ambitions for the Tour de France, with the 38 year old showing solid form recently after a quiet start to the year. Last month Petacchi was second on two stages of the Tour of Norway and then went on to clock up three stage victories in the Bayern-Rundfahrt; having missed out on the Giro, he’ll hope for Grand Tour success in the Tour de France.

The Italian is third on the all-time list of stage winners in three-week races, having clocked up those six Tour stages, 22 in the Giro and 20 in the Vuelta. And while he has slowed with age, he’s still able to take victories when things come together for him in terms of form. He’s also well suited to the fast leadouts of the Tour de France, being able to kick hard from a sprint train.

The team’s ambitions will also be led by Michele Scarponi. The climbing specialist knows that the high number of time trial kilometres will make the overall very difficult, but has ample opportunity to clock up stage wins if he can hit top form.

He wasn’t quite at his best in the Giro d’Italia, netting several top-five stage placings and finishing fourth overall. He had started the race as the 2011 winner after Alberto Contador was disqualified.

Scarponi may have a lot on his mind in the race, though, as he faces a hearing tomorrow with the anti-doping prosecutor of Italian Olympic Committee CONI. He has been accused of using the services of the controversial doctor Michele Ferrari, who has been banned from working with Italian riders.

Scarponi potentially faces a six month ban if it is shown that he did indeed work with Ferrari. However as he was already suspended in relation to Operación Puerto, his career could be at an end if it emerges that there is proof of doping.

The team is completed by Grega Bole, Danilo Hondo, Yuriy Krivtsov, Matthew Lloyd, Marco Marzano, Simone Stortoni and Davide Viganò.

“The team will be characterized by two groups,” stated the team, “one concerning the fast riders (Petacchi and Bole), the other one ready to be competitive on the climbs, with Scarponi who'll try to be protagonist in the most demanding stages.”

Australian rider Lloyd returns to the Tour after a difficult year last season. He won a stage plus the King of the Mountains title in the 2010 Giro d’Italia and is trying to get back to the same level.

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