Fassa Bortolo stops
Italian super sprinter Alessandro Petacchi will ride for Domina Vacanze for the next three years, reports Friday's La Gazzetta dello Sport. Petacchi, his agents, Gianni and Alex Carrera, and Domina Vacanze manager Gianluigi Stanga held a telephone meeting recently, the outcome of which was a verbal agreement to a €3 million per year deal. Petacchi will receive €2 million per year, while the remaining €1 million will go to Petacchi's lead out men Marco Velo, Fabio Sacchi, and Matteo Tosatto.
Petacchi's future bike sponsor Ernesto Colnago told Cyclingnews' Tim Maloney this morning, "We're very happy that Petacchi will race with our bikes in 2006. He used our bike when he was an amateur and we know him well. He's a great rider."
Petacchi, currently with Fassa Bortolo, had offers from T-Mobile and other big teams, but wanted to stay in Italy with an Italian team. Similarly, Fabio Sacchi had an offer to go back to Lampre, but decided to stay with Petacchi. The man behind the move was Ernesto Preatoni, the boss of Domina Vacanze, who got a lot of satisfaction from having Mario Cipollini in his team, and saw that as a good reason to sign the world's top sprinter over the last two and a half years.
Unfortunately for Fassa Bortolo team manager Giancarlo Ferretti, Petacchi's departure will spell the end of his team, which was losing its main sponsor at the end of the season anyway. With his top rider gone, Ferretti has not been able to attract another backer to replace Fassa, and the team will fold completely.
"It is with great regret that I communicate the conclusion of the Fassa Bortolo team at the end of 2005," said Ferretti in a statement. "The team started in 2000 and had planned, for some time, to finish after six years. It has achieved some great successes, it has always ridden at the top of international cycling, and it has seen the birth of a champion loved and admired by all in Alessandro Petacchi."
Ferretti added that at nearly 64 years old, he did not know whether he would try to manage another team of this size. "In the meantime, I wish all of 'my boys' good luck in continuing in the world of cycling."
Ferretti and Fassa Bortolo's departure from the scene will open up another ProTour licence spot, and several teams are already vying for that, including Acqua e Sapone and Ag2r-Prevoyance.