Petacchi confident in Lampre, resolution of ProTour licence

Italian sprinter ready to battle Cavendish at Milano-Sanremo

Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi is confident Lampre's manager Giuseppe Saronni will resolve the team's ProTour licence problem. Petacchi said last night at the team's presentation in Castenedolo, Italy, that he's calm and ready to win.

"The ProTour licence is only an administration problem. Saronni is meeting with International Cycling Union (UCI) on Monday and will resolve it. Not having it could have an affect on a lot of races, but I am not thinking of that now," said Petacchi.

The UCI ProTour Council (UPTC) confirmed the registration of 17 teams on November 25. Lampre was omitted from the list, with the  decision of cancelling its ProTour licence referred to the independent ProTour licence commission. The team's registration application lacks certain administrative and financial documents.

Petacchi joined Lampre partly because of its ProTour or top division status. He spent the last two seasons with LPR Brakes, a second division team that had to rely on wild card invitations to some of cycling's top races.

"I think that I have a hard time in the last two years. I haven't been able to have a complete year where I have done the races I prefer," Petacchi continued.

With or without the ProTour licence, Petacchi will start his season at GP Etruschi on February 2. He's won the Italian one-day race five times in its 14-year history.

His early season goal is to win Milano-Sanremo on March 20, five years after his first in 2005. He expects defending champion Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) to be strong, but is confident his fellow Lampre-newcomers can help deliver him to a second win.

"Everyone talks only of Cavendish, but I think there are a lot of others to battle. Sanremo is always a particular race, just because he has won this year does not mean he can win next year. Only a few have won over many years, like Erik Zabel for example.

"I've worked with Saronni to bring in strong lead-out men, Danilo Hondo and Lorenzo Bernucci. They will help in the finale."

In addition to Sanremo, Petacchi has 19 career stage wins in the Giro d'Italia. This year, he lost the sprint duel to Cavendish, who won three stages and held the leader's maglia rosa jersey for two days. Petacchi won two stages and held the leader's jersey for one day.

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