Italian Alessandro Petacchi will aim for a repeat of his 2005 Milano-Sanremo victory this spring. The 34 year-old sprinter of Team Milram noted La Classicissima as one of his season's top goals at the German team's presentation in Bremen last week.
"I insert Milano-Sanremo amongst the objectives of Gent-Wevelgem and stage of the Giro d'Italia for the first part of the season, which I believe I can re-conquer after three years," the rider from La Spezia (Liguria) said to Tuttosport. He will begin his racing season with the GP Etruschi di Donoratico on February 9.
The Italian matched Italy's last super-sprinter's – Mario Cipollini – win in Sanremo but has not been able to do so in the Northern Classic Gent-Wevelgem. The Tuscan sprinter won there three times (1992, 1993 and 2002) while 'Ale-Jet' finds the Belgium roads hard to manage.
The birth of a new baby – due in May from wife Anna Chiara – will provide inspiration for Petacchi's summer. "I would like to return to the Tour [de France] after a two-year absence, and aim for the Hamburg Cyclassics."
Petacchi will once again have the support of Erik Zabel, who is entering his 16th and final season. The German – a four-time winner of Sanremo – promised his services to his "friend." "I am 37 years old and I really believe that this will be my last season. I want to understand if it still pleases me to sprint with my rivals with my friend Alessandro or if instead there is something broken inside of me."