Yesterday, while the favourites were positioning themselves for a stage two showdown in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, Alessandro Petacchi stepped out the back door. The 33 year-old sprinter abandoned at kilometre 73 like he had indicated was possible the day before.
"I have paid for the psychophysical stress of Sanremo," noted the Milram rider to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Maybe I have raced too much in the desire to recuperate. Now I am stopping.
"I will return for Rund um Köln [April 9] and Gent-Wevelgem , thinking of the Giro [May 12 - June 3]."
Petacchi had a hard 2006 seasons; he crashed out of the Giro d'Italia in stage three, fracturing his knee-cap, and then, after a long recovery period, he was side-lined in the Vuelta a España when injured his hand as a consequence of punching the team bus in stress. His goal for 2007 is to ride all three Grand Tours, something that will require quality preparation.