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Petacchi announces his immediate retirement

Cycling News
April 23, 2013, 12:57,
April 23, 2013, 14:43
Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Michele Scarponi and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - ISD)

Michele Scarponi and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - ISD)

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Italian sprinter calls it a day after 18 years as a professional

Alessandro Petacchi has announced his immediate retirement after 18 years as a professional cyclist. The Italian announced the news in a message posted on the website of the Lampre-Merida team.

"I feel it’s time to dedicate time for myself and to go in search for new interests," Petacchi said in the message.

"My career has been full of satisfactions and enriched by all the most important victories that a rider like me could ever have aimed for. At the threshold of 200 victories in my career, I feel my life reaches a particular moment, a turning point, in which I perceive the need to find a new dimension and to have more time to dedicate to my family. These considerations conclude me to the decision to pause my career."

Petacchi turned professional in 1996, riding for Scrigno until joining Fassa Bortolo in 2000. He went on to ride for Team Milram, LPR Brakes-Ballan and Lampre-Farnese Vini. His career took off in 2003 when he won six stages at the Giro d'Italia, four stages at the Tour de France and five stages at the Vuelta a España. He won a record-breaking nine stages in the 2004 Giro d'Italia, took Milan-San Remo in 2005 and the green points jersey at the 2010 Tour de France.

Petacchi tested positive for Salbutamol at the 2007 Giro d'Italia. He claimed he suffered from asthma and had a TUE (Therapy Use Exemption) certificate but the value measured in his sample exceeded the then limit for the drug. He was cleared by the Italian Olympic Committee but was banned by the Court for Arbitration for Sport. The Swiss-based court accepted that Petacchi had not intended to cheat but suggested he had not shown sufficient caution when using his asthma inhaler. However, his results from after October 2007 - when he raced again - were cancelled.

In 2010 Petacchi was also caught up in a doping investigation by Italian police in Padova, that also involved his close friend and former teammate Lorenzo Bernucci.  He was accused of using PFC and human serum albumin but nothing further was heard about the investigation after Petacchi was questioned by the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping investigators.

Petacchi was a powerful sprinter but was quiet and reserved. He loved animals and had a parrot at home, using a webcam and an mobile phone to ensure it was okay while he was away at races. 

Petacchi never loved the Belgian Classics but signed off by riding Paris-Roubaix for just the second time in his career.

“Paris-Roubaix closed an early part of the season in which I raced a lot, trying to be a protagonist in traditional appointments, such as Milano-Sanremo, and in competitions for me less usual like Paris-Roubaix," Petacchi said.

"I approached all these races in the whole professional way, driven by the enthusiasm that the Galbusera family and the new sponsors gave to the team. I’m aware I gave my best, as I always did in the 18 seasons as professional cyclist. I always put first the professional side of my job, honoring the efforts made by sponsors, such as Lampre, Merida and all the other partners of the team: I really thank them for the trust they gave me in these marvelous years.

"I want to say goodbye to all the cycling fans, considering that maybe there will be the chance to come back some day to be part of the world that gave me so much, offering my experience to the new cycling generations. I’d like to thank the team, the sponsors, the management, the staff and athletes and everyone that supported me during my career, confirming by now my availability to support, when necessary, my mates and the team with advice and my experience."

srsplato More than 1 year ago
Good Luck Alessandro Petacchi! It was sure fun to watch you race when you started winning. Will miss seeing you in the Peloton!
Lance, remember Bassons? More than 1 year ago
I wont miss him - Petacchi was cheat and a liar and continues to lie. Good riddance, one more down.
Clockel More than 1 year ago
Stellar career, still a great cyclist. Best of luck to Petacchi.
Bob Cullinan More than 1 year ago
Given his past tranagressions, the timing of this "retirement" seems a bit suspicious.
rastymick More than 1 year ago
blah, blah, blah... say what you want, he was an amazing bike rider!
Josh Hines More than 1 year ago
I agree 100% and I applaud the author of this article for being clear on his past charges. I don't accept the "everyone was doing it" excuse. As far as I'm concerned, any rider that was dominant like that in grand tours during that era is tainted.
Bob Cullinan More than 1 year ago
Stingray34 More than 1 year ago
Instead a long-winded paragraph of bland BS, Petacchi should've just said, "Mantua," and left the room.
PhrediePhly More than 1 year ago
TheStaz More than 1 year ago
Class act.
packmonger More than 1 year ago
Good luck to him. I wonder though why he wouldn't try to finish out the season?
laziali More than 1 year ago
Because word is that he is about to be named. D'oh!
Rae N. More than 1 year ago
Ale-Jet: my favorite nickname of all!
velogeek More than 1 year ago
Arrivederci Ale-Jet. I remember most: - Going head-to-head with Cipollini in the '03 Giro and blowing him away - The collaboration with Erik Zabel at Milram, which culminated in the '07 Paris-Tours win - The gutsy riding throughout the 2010 TdF to finally claim a green jersey