Petacchi eyes Cavendish's debut in Andalucía
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Petacchi eyes Cavendish's debut in Andalucía

by Samuel Morrison at 9:51 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo

Italian Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) will pay close attention to today's season debut of Brit Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia), last year's top sprinter. Cavendish begins his season at the Vuelta a Andalucía in Spain, only one month ahead of his Milano-Sanremo defence.

"I want to see how Cavendish is going," Petacchi told Tuttosport. "We will have an idea in these next days, but I am waiting for the Tirreno-Adriatico, where we will be able to see who is truly in form."

Italy's Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, March 10 to 16, is the traditional warm-up event for Milano-Sanremo, which takes place four days later. Petacchi won a stage at Tirreno-Adriatico last year, but then failed to beat Cavendish and repeat his 2005 win in Milano-Sanremo.

This year, Petacchi has a new team and a different approach. For the first time in his career he spent two weeks training at altitude on the Canary Island of Tenerife.

"We still have to see if it will work to my advantage."

Yesterday, he skipped Trofeo Laigueglia due to a stomach virus, but he has already proven himself with three wins this year: two stages in Reggio Calabria and the GP Etruschi. Though out of Laigueglia, he still made sure to review the climbs along the Ligurian coast that will be used in Milano-Sanremo, March 20.

"They are all there, Capo Berta, Capo Mele and the final two climbs [Cipressa and Poggio]," said Petacchi. "I have started to give them a look, specifically the Cipressa. I went over the Cipressa, though in my car to see the climb but, above all, the descent. I have to refresh my memory of every curve."

Petacchi and Cavendish both succeeded in holding off attacks and arrived to duel Sanremo's final last year, where Petacchi could only manage fifth. This year, though training at altitude, he is not planning to distance Cavendish on the Cipressa or Poggio, but to get the better of the Manxman in the sprint.

"If I do it [drop him on the climb], it would be unnatural for me. But it is better to train in the best way possible."

Petacchi has been Italy's leading sprinter since Mario Cipollini retired. He has won 21 Giro d'Italia stages, four at the Tour de France and 19 at the Vuelta a España.


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