Alessandro Petacchi and Mario Cipollini will race against each other for the first time this season at the Giro della Provincia di Lucca on Monday, March 7. Both Italian sprinters will use the race to prepare for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo, the most prestigious Italian one-day race.
"I am coming back to competition after a 21-day stop," said Cipollini, who has not been racing since the Tour Méditerranéen. "Despite the flu and the bad weather, I trained hard. The next two races will lead me up to my first goal in this season: Milano-Sanremo," he added.
The seventh Giro di Lucca will be 177 km long and involve 17 teams, eight of which Italian. Ivan Basso (CSC) will also participate, as well as well as Cipollini's Liquigas teammates Danilo di Luca and Magnus Bäckstedt, Russian Pavel Tonkov (LPR) and Serguei Gonchar (Domina Vacanze).
The complete line-up of Liquigas-Bianchi: Mario Cipollini, Danilo Di Luca, Magnus Bäckstedt, Enrico Gasparotto, Vladimir Miholjevic, Devis Miorin, Matej Mugerli, Andrea Noè and Marco Righetto.