Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) has said he is ready to ride for another country at the world championships after the Italian cycling Federation introduced a rule blocking riders who had served a ban for doping.
Petacchi tested positive for Salbutamol in 2007 after over using his asthma medicine and was banned for a year. The new rule created by the Italian Cycling Federation bars riders from riding national championships and riding for the Italian national team if they are banned for at least a six-month ban. The rule means riders of the calibre of Ivan Basso, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin will also be affected.
“Race against Italy at the worlds? I’m thinking about it,” Petacchi told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“I’m sorry and disappointed. I don’t know if it’s legally possible to take a decision like that and make it retroactive. If they’ve done it, it perhaps means you can… And I get caught up in it all and thrown in the pot with all the other cases. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it and I’ve just got to accept it.”
Di Luca is considering making a legal challenge against the ruling but Petacchi has other plans, with Gazzetta suggesting he may opt to ride for Kazakhstan at this year’s world championships in Copenhagen.
“I seriously thinking about it, I’m not going to hide the fact. I don’t know if it’s possible but people are looking into it for me,” he said.
Tour de France
Petacchi won two stages and the green points jersey at last year’s Tour de France. He is riding again this year but played down his chances in the sprints, especially early in the race.
“I don’t honestly think my form’s as good as last year,” he admitted.
“I won a stage of the Giro in Parma but then I pulled out in Ravenna and I’ve only raced for three days in June. I’ve been training (at altitude) on Etna but I think it’ll take me a few stages to get into gear. I know the first stage finishes on a short climb so perhaps the first sprint will be on stage three.”
Petacchi has studied the new rules for the green jersey competition and noted how the increased points on offer at an intermediate sprint could change how the fight for the points jersey.
“Last year I didn’t think about winning the green jersey, it just kind of happened. I want to do the same thing this year and just take things day by day,” he said.
“The fact that there is intermediate sprints that gives a lot of points (20 compared to 45 to the stage winner) favours some one like Hushovd who can go in breaks on tough stages.”
“In the sprints it won’t be easy to take on teams like HTC who will work hard for Cavendish or Goss. I’ll have Hondo and perhaps Malori, who is very young, and Bole. But I’m motivated to fight and win. Nobody should doubt that.”