Petacchi retires from Giro d’Italia due to bronchitis
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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Petacchi retires from Giro d’Italia due to bronchitis

by Conal Andrews at 8:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
Chest problems end his bid for stage wins

Celebrated Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi went into this year’s Giro d’Italia determined to improve upon his 21 stage victories in the race, but the 36 year old will have to wait another year after withdrawing today.

The Lampre Farnese Vini rider called it quits shortly after today’s start in Chianciano, retiring from the event due to bronchitis. He had appeared to lack a little sharpness in this year’s race, with best placings of fifth and sixth on stages two and five, but had several other chances ahead.

However a tough stage yesterday followed by very disrupted night’s sleep due to coughing meant that he had nothing left in the tank. He had been taking antibiotics but these were not able to correct the problem in time.

Petacchi has been one of cycling’s top sprinters for many seasons. His rise dovetailed with the winding down of Mario Cipollini’s career, lining up the younger Italian as a replacement of sorts. While he lacked the same sort of charisma and reputation as a showman, he became a real favourite with the Italian public thanks to his spectacular showing in the 2004 Giro.

There he triumphed on stages two, five, seven, nine, 11, 13, 15, 16 and 21. This staggering total of nine victories earned him the Maglia ciclamino as points winner, as well as the Most Combative and Azzuri d’Italia classifications.

The following year saw him take four stage wins in the Giro, five plus the points classification in the Vuelta a España and Milan-Sanremo.

His career hit a speedbump in 2007 when he won five stages in the Giro but was then disqualified and suspended for the over-use of the anti-asthma medication Salbutamol. He returned to the race last season and picked up victories on stages two and three.

Petacchi will now concentrate on getting well again and looking to other targets. His Lampre Farnese Vini team has been confirmed as riding the 2010 Tour de France, and the Vuelta a España and world championships are also likely to be goals.


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