Is Hondo Petacchi’s key to beating Cavendish?
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is Hondo Petacchi’s key to beating Cavendish?

by Conal Andrews at 9:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Aside from having the sharpest acceleration in world cycling, ten-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish also benefits from what is almost certainly the quickest and best-drilled leadout train in the business.

Big rival Alessandro Petacchi is determined to take the fight to his younger rival, though, and feels that Lampre’s signing of Danilo Hondo is an important step.

"It was a request from Petacchi, who led us to write a contract with Hondo," said Lampre manager Giuseppe Saronni.

"We think it was a good idea, and we contacted Danilo, who was very excited to have the chance to become professional again. Hondo will be useful in the sprint for Petacchi, and he will also get an opportunity to take his own chances.”

Petacchi is one of the strongest sprinters in the history of cycling. The Italian has taken a staggering 44 Grand Tour stages; 21 in the Giro d’Italia, 19 in the Vuelta a España, and four in the Tour de France. In the 2004 Giro he took a record nine stages, dominating the points classification. He also won Milan San Remo in 2005 and Paris-Tours two years later.

Hondo is a former double Giro d’Italia stage winner and was the 2002 German road race champion. Interestingly, he finished second to Petacchi in the 2005 Milan San Remo.

Both riders have had their careers interrupted by doping suspensions; Petacchi served a suspension for being over the allowable threshold for the asthma mediation Salbutamol during the 2007 Giro d’Italia. He also lost five stage wins in the race.

Hondo was found to have Carphedon in his system during the 2005 Vuelta a Murcia and also incurred a long suspension as a result.

Both now 35 years of age, they know that time is running out on their careers. Petacchi wants to go out on a high, winning the world championship road race in either in 2010 or 2011.

Beating Cavendish again will also be a target. He’s one of the few riders to better the Manxman, and will aim to do so again via the assistance of Hondo. Their tactic will be to go for longer sprints, ramping up the speed well before the final 200 metres and using their sustained power to try to overcome his explosiveness.



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