Italian sprinter’s career revived at 37
Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) believed that he scored the 180th win of a career he started with Scrigno – the team now called Colnago-CSF – with today's Giro stage win . “I’ve also won those race that have been taken away from me later on, so I count them," the Italian sprinter said after taking stage 2 in the 2011 Giro d’Italia.
13 of his wins were erased from the record books after he tested positive for salbutamol after stage 11 in the 2007 Giro d’Italia. This was a very controversial affair. Under current WADA regulations, as the limitation of acceptable quantity of salbutamol is no longer in place, Petacchi wouldn’t have tested positive.
However, it has meant two stops in his career, coming after his knee fracture at the 2004 Giro d’Italia.
“For different reasons, I haven’t done a real full season in the past eight years, that’s why I’m still fresh and motivated at the age of 37," Petacchi told Cyclingnews last week at the Presidential Tour of Turkey. He also revealed that he wants to race for another two years.
“I’ve never lost motivation," he added.
“At 37, I’m able to do sacrifices that I didn’t when I was 25 or 27," he said after winning in Parma.
“I was always told that I should do altitude training camps like I’ve done recently on the Etna with Michele Scarponi, but I didn’t see the point of doing so since I was winning ten or twelve stages at Grand Tours yearly. But with the recent training, I’ve been able to win a stage with 2,300 metres of change in altitude at the Tour of Turkey on a very hard day with rain and stuff. There I realised that I’ve really gained something. I’m probably someone who reacts well in altitude. I’ve also lost a lot of weight.”
History recalls that Petacchi was the king of the mountains at the 1999 Tour de Langkawi and that classification included the gruelling climb to Genting Highlands. The first of his 180 wins also occurred in Malaysia one year earlier and it wasn’t a bunch sprint. He won from a group of four escapees on stage 6 of the Tour de Langkawi in Mersing.
“Coming to the Giro, I was afraid to have lost some speed because of the mountain training," he added. “But I haven’t lost any muscle power.” His acceleration at 225 metres to go into stage 2 in Parma confirmed his thoughts.
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