By Jean-François Quénet in Genova
As he has lived in Tuscany since he joined Panaria five years ago, Australian Brett Lancaster felt at home when his wife Ally and their baby paid a visit at the start in Camaiore. The Olympic champion from Shepparton, Victoria, is given extremely positive comments about his work at the service of Alessandro Petacchi, who has bagged two stage wins so far in the 2007 Giro d'Italia.
He proved strong by catching Fabian Cancellara, the last attacker on the car racing circuit of Mugello on stage 8. "I also waited a bit for catching him and avoided other attacks", Lancaster said.
He's the penultimate lead-out man, just before Alberto Ongarato, the Milram train and has replaced both Marco Velo (injured) and Fabio Sacchi (left at home). Lancaster has shown that he really has the power for preparing a bunch sprint. Now he'll also perform the finishing work since Ongarato has pulled out of the race.
After the Giro, he'll ride the Tour de France for the first time. Before leading out Petacchi for the first sprint to Canterbury, Gent and Compiègne, Lancaster has set his sights on the prologue in London. "I'll give it a go", said the winner of the 1.2-kilometre prologue time trial of the 2005 Giro, in Reggio di Calabria.