Alessandro Petacchi: “I want to demonstrate that I still can be a protagonist”
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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Alessandro Petacchi: “I want to demonstrate that I still can be a protagonist”

by Ben Atkins at 1:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Ale-Jet prepares for his 18th season in the professional peloton after an illness-hit 2012

alessandro petacchiAlessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) is preparing for his 18th season in the professional peloton. The 38-year-old sprinter from La Spezia, in le Cinque Terre, still feels capable of performing at the highest level however, and, after an indifferent 2012 season - largely thanks to a succession of health issues - he hopes to return to the top.

Unlike many of his teammates and rivals however, Petacchi is choosing to spend the winter at home in Lido di Camaiore on the north Tuscan coast.

"I think I'll stay at home with my family,” he explained. “I'm so happy to have time to spend with my son Alessandro, even if there are negative features; my wife and I got the flu after my son was sick. Now I'm alright and I'm setting up a gym in my house, so that I'll be able to train at home during winter.”

Petacchi will celebrate his 39th birthday in January, making him one of the oldest riders in the WorldTour peloton; the Ale-Jet from La Spezia will be out to prove that age is no barrier to success however.

“It will be a very important season for me, I want to demonstrate that I still can be a protagonist and I think I can.”

Petacchi has taken 22 stages in the Giro d’Italia - which would be 27 had he not lost five from 2007 following the overuse of asthma drug salbutamol - but was unable to add to that after he missed out on this year’s race. He rode the Bayern-Rundfahrt in southern Germany instead, where he picked up his only three wins of the season.

“In 2012, because of illness and various difficulties, I could never be at the start of an important race in perfect condition,” he explained. “I hope not to have to face troubles again in 2013, so that I'll be able to test myself in the most important competitions pedalling on top form.”

“There were no other problems except a lack of condition,” he continued. “My team mates supported me in a proper way, the feeling among us increased race by race and I think it will go even better next year. It will be important to perform an intense program of races.”

With a number of personnel changes at the blue-fuchsia team this year - which will become Lampre-Merida in 2013 as it changes its bike sponsor - Petacchi may find his position as number one sprinter threatened. The signing of Roberto Ferrari from Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela and Maximiliano Richeze from Team Nippo could see the 38-year-old Ale-Jet pushed out in some of the biggest races.

“Ferrari has top qualities, I think he'll give the team good satisfaction,” said Petacchi. “As far as Richeze is concerned, it will be interesting to evaluate his impact at the WorldTour level. There won't be a [Danilo] Hondo or [Grega] Bole in the team any more, but I' think it's important that there will be a precious rider such [Davide] Viganò.

“[Massimo] Graziato is increasing his skill and [Davide] Cimolai will explore his limits.”

Petacchi has generally begun his season at the early Italian races in February, but last year he rode January’s Tour Down Under. The decision has not yet been made when the Ale-Jet will first be launched in 2013.

“It's still to early to have a precise idea, but I've already begun to evaluate the possible solutions with the staff of the team.”

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