By Gregor Brown
Sprinter Alessandro Petacchi ruled out Team LPR signing German Danilo Hondo. The Italian from La Spezia indicated that there is room for one more rider, and that he would like it to be his teammate for the last five years, Alberto Ongarato.
"If there is the possibility, we will take on [Alberto] Ongarato, but not Hondo," said Petacchi to Cyclingnews.
Petacchi joined Team LPR mid-way through 2008 after finishing a ban for the over-use of Salbutamol, an asthma drug. He bounced back immediately with three stages in the Tour of Britain, the Memorial Viviana Manservisi and the GP Beghelli.
He is working with Team Manager Fabio Bordonali to bring on Ongarato. The duo raced together at Teams Fassa Bortolo and Milram.
"It is not that [Hondo] is not a good rider – he would be a good addition – but Ongarato has been my teammate for years and if there is the possibility, with the expertise that he has, I think that it would be more important to have a rider like him."
Petacchi indicated that he will have a strong team with Claudio Cucinotta, Lorenzo Bernucci and Giairo Ermeti as the core to his sprint lead-out.
Hondo rode with Team Diquigiovanni this season where he earned several placings and a stage win in the Tour de Langkawi. He has been linked with Polish Continental team, Team Corratec, for 2009.