Visconti: Petacchi 'has zero personality'
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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Visconti: Petacchi 'has zero personality'

by Samuel Morrison at 11:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Italy's Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) sprinted to a record sixth victory in-a-row at the GP Etruschi yesterday, but it was not without incident. In the closing kilometres, he insulted and grabbed Italian rival Giovanni Visconti (ISD-Neri).

"I have always had respect for Petacchi, but he can't treat me like a peasant," Visconti told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The champions were [Mario] Cipollini, [Paolo] Bettini... He [Petacchi] has zero personality."

Petacchi's Lampre team led the final kilometres of the race in Donoratico, Italy, but Visconti's ISD-Neri challenged for position in the final two kilometres.

"Petacchi said to me, 'What the hell are you doing?' explained Visconti. "I told him, 'Ale, you do yours and I'll do mine.' He was infuriated, 'You don't respond to me that way' and he yanked at my ear."

Visconti retaliated with a punch as the race entered its final kilometre. Petacchi benefited from the work of team-mate Danilo Hondo to win for the sixth time since 2005. After the win, he was apologetic.

"Visconti was rude towards my team-mate [Lorenzo Bernucci] and this upset me," said Petacchi. "However, I would have been better off to not get into the middle of it. I was nervous and I reacted badly.

"I made a mistake and I take the blame. I will apologise the next time I see him."

Petacchi's known as the 'friendly sprinter' and he is not often involved in fisticuffs while positioning for sprints.   The duel with Visconti could be a release of some his anxiety ahead of a season facing current sprint king, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia).

Petacchi's first major target of the season is to re-establish dominance in Milano-Sanremo.    He won the Italian race in 2005, but the emergence of younger rivals like Cavendish has made a repeat difficult.


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