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Stage 1 winner Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD)
Veteran sprinter believes he still has what it takes
It's been a season of frustration for Alessandro Petacchi and one he is looking to put behind him as he begins preparation for the coming season. Petacchi experienced one of his ‘lighter' years in terms of significant results but it's not because he's slowing down, says the 38-year-old.
"In 2012, between injuries, illness and other problems, I could never be at the start of an important race in perfect condition. I hope not to have to face these problems again," Petacchi told Biciclismo.
The veteran sprinter committed to a fourth season with the Lampre-ISD team and believes that he's still able to compete with the best when it comes to bunch sprints. The team has the ability to support him and his team's latest sprint-recruit Roberto Ferrari, who Petacchi says will be an important asset to the team.
"Ferrari has great qualities and I think he will give the team great satisfaction. No doubt he will do well and we'll divide the team's objectives between us," Petacchi explained.
"My teammates supported me properly, in good spirits and the feeling between us increased from race to race. You can always improve and we will work next year. The important thing will be to achieve consistency."
Petacchi enjoyed a purple patch in May when he took three stages at Bayern-Rundfahrt but he achieved little else in the remaining part of the year. He also failed to finish a number of big races including the Tour de Suisse, Tour de France, Eneco Tour and Giro di Padania.
One of Petacchi's few noteworthy results was second place on stage 4 at the Tour de France before he finished outside the time limit on stage 11. The Italian fell heavily on the descent of the Col de la Croix de Fer and was eliminated from the race. More recently he completed the Tour of Beijing, coming close to a win on stage 4 where he was beaten to the line by 21-year-old Marco Haller from Katusha.
Petacchi is looking to have some better luck in 2013 and is ready to start training again in preparation for his first races of the coming year. Another start at the Tour Down Under has not been ruled out however, the exact programme is yet to be discussed with his team management.
"Now I'm quite right and I have established a gym in my house, so I'll be able to train at home during the winter," said Petacchi.
"2013 is going to be a very important season for me," said Petacchi. "I would like to prove myself that I can still be a player and I think I can. I believe I can give great satisfaction to the team. In a few days I will start with the gym, then I will return the bike."