By Tim Maloney, European Editor
After riding the last 47 kilometers of the Giro's stage 3 Monday in major pain from his left knee to finish 15 minutes behind the winner, a stoic Alessandro Petacchi and his Milram team doctor went to the emergency room at Namur Hospital that evening for an x-ray, which revealed that the super-sprinter had a vertical crack one centimeter from the edge of his left kneecap. Petacchi had a half-cast applied in Namur and then headed back to his team hotel.
Later, the speedster from La Spezia explained, "I won't be able to ride the Tour now. I'm hoping to be back for the Vuelta at this point." Tuesday, Petacchi flew back to Italy and on Wednesday will see reknowned orthopedic surgeon Prof. Spinelli at his clinic in Pisa, where an MRI will reveal if the Milram man will need surgery on his cracked kneecap.