Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) will start Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday despite crashing heavily in training on Monday.
The Italian sprinter had five stitches applied to a wound in his forehead and hurt his right ankle but is determined to start because he knows Tirreno-Adriatico is vital preparation for Milano-Sanremo, the biggest objective of his season.
"I tried to ride my bike this morning. The pain in my ankle was still there and won't disappear quickly, just like pain where I had stitches put in on my forehead but I really want to ride at Tirreno," Petacchi said.
"Tirreno-Adriatico is vital for building up for Milan-Sanremo and so I'll give it everything to try and ride. We'll see if I'll be okay physically."
Petacchi crashed late on Monday while training with teammate Lorenzo Bernucci near his home in northern Tuscany. He hit a flower planter and crashed heavily. As well as the cut on his head and his ankle, he also hurt his right shin. Petacchi tried to pull his foot out of the pedal before the crash but ended pulling a muscle in his groin.
"Alessandro isn't feeling great but it's right that he starts and tries to make to the finish of the first stage because Tirreno-Adriatico is very important for getting ready for Milan-Sanremo," Lampre directeur sportif Fabrizio Bontempi said.
"Hopefully the pain will ease, thanks to special massage he'll have. We'll take it day by day and see how he feels. Even if Alessandro can't do well, we've still got a good team and hopefully Gavazzi and Hondo can do well in the sprints. Hondo has already shown he can take Petacchi's place when he won the sprint in Sardinia."
The Lampre-Farnese Vini team for Tirreno-Adriatico includes: Alessandro Petacchi, Lorenzo Bernucci, Mauro Da Dalto, Danilo Hondo, Manuele Mori, Daniele Pietropolli and Simon Spilak.