Italian sprinter leaving LPR at the end of the season
Alessandro Petacchi is set to ride for Lampre-NGC in 2010 after it was confirmed that he would leave LPR at the end of the current season. Petacchi admitted earlier in the week that he was in negotiations with several ProTour teams in order to guarantee his participation in the most prestigious races.
Alex Carera, Petacchi's agent, said that his rider was close to signing a two-year deal, which will see him through until he's 38. "It's not certain that he'll sign tomorrow but I'm 90 percent confident that the deal will get done," Carera said.
"We met with [Lampre team manager Giuseppe] Saronni at the Lampre offices near Milan yesterday, and it was obvious that there was a mutual interest in working with each other. There were just two conditions that Saronni couldn't give us guarantees on, and which need to be met if the deal is to go through. I can't say what those conditions are, but one is financial, one is technical."
One aspect that has yet to be resolved is over Petacchi's leadout train should he join Lampre. "Obviously, with Alessandro being a sprinter, there are other riders he wants with him. That's another point we've been discussing with Saronni. Alberto Ongarato has been with Alessandro for years, and it's normal that they want to carry on working together.
"Lorenzo Bernucci is another rider who Alessandro wants at his side. Alessandro was really impressed with the work Bernucci did for him in the early part of the season, until he was injured before the Giro. Riccardo Chiarini could also be part of the package."
Petacchi won two stages and wore the leader's jersey for one day in this year's Giro d'Italia. However the LPR Brakes team has struggled since, with non-invitations to several important races and the recent news that Petacchi's teammate Danilo Di Luca doped during the Giro and now faces a long suspension from the sport.
Carera also confirmed that Lampre-NGC's Damiano Cunego is "100 percent" certain to stay with the team for next year. The new British Sky Team had enquired about Cunego's availability earlier this season.
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