Petacchi proceeds without sprint train
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Petacchi proceeds without sprint train

by Samuel Morrison at 10:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta a Catalunya
'I only have Hondo, but he's the best for the job'

Alessandro Petacchi's first race win arrived late this season, at the Volta a Catalunya yesterday in Banyoles, Spain. The Italian sprinter is struggling with his fitness and lacks a lead out train.

"It's never happened," Petacchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport, "where I've started Milano-Sanremo without a win."

His win yesterday in Spain came three days after racing Sanremo, the one-day classic he won in 2005. Before the Sanremo, he complained of a lack of form. He has suffered this year with asthma problems, though, he challenged Tyler Farrar for a stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico and was fortunate to make Sanremo's winning move. He was dropped on the race's final climb due to the attacks of Vincenzo Nibali and Philippe Gilbert.

Petacchi has also had to rely on a shorter lead out train. Team Lampre-ISD likely doesn't have full faith in the 37-year-old's abilities and has to support its attacking riders, Damiano Cunego and Michele Scarponi.

"We also have Cunego and Scarponi, who may win the Giro. The team is different, and so it's only correct," continued Petacchi.

"With the addition of [sponsor] ISD there has to be a certain number of Ukraine riders. If you add those who were already under contract, there was no space left. At Lampre, I only just have [Danilo] Hondo, but he's the best for the job. I've got victories in my blood, I'll do the rest."

Italian coach, Paolo Bettini is thinking about the team he will take to the World Championships this September in Copenhagen. In November, he said, "there is only one rider who after 250 kilometres knows how to win a finish like this: Alessandro Petacchi."

"The World Championships is far away, but I'm available," Petacchi continued. "The first thing is to look after my health, because when I'm good, I'm still among the best in the world. Of course, winning 20 races a year is no longer possible because I don't even have the train that other teams have."

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) may prohibit Bettini from leading team Italy with Petacchi. It has been quiet, but it is still investigating Petacchi for doping and may issue him a lifetime doping ban. He is accused of using synthetic blood Perfluorocarbon (PFC) and human serum albumin in 2009.

In December, CONI issued his former team-mate Lorenzo Bernucci a lifetime ban. Petacchi has been linked with Bernucci's case.

Petacchi is thinking ahead, though. He plans to race next at the Giro del Trentino and the Giro d'Italia.


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