Alessandro Petacchi in Qatar

Petacchi (r) at presentation

Petacchi (r) at presentation (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Lo Spezzino recovered

The first time we will see Alessandro Petacchi race in 2007 will be at the sixth Tour of Qatar, in 17 days. It will also be the season debut of Belgian-rival Tom Boonen, hence, the first Petacchi-Boonen duel of 2007.

"I have never started so soon, and I have never been in Qatar," said the 33 year-old sprinter of Milram to La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We will have to remain concentred; I expect lots of wind and fast tempo."

Alessandro was presented with his Milram teammates yesterday in Bremen, Germany. Along side Petacchi for 2007 will once again be the legendary sprinter, Erik Zabel, and new signing, Australian Brett Lancaster.

"I am content with the feelings I have now," continued Petacchi, wanting to put the injury riddled 2006 season behind him. "I have been going well in training [up to six hours a day - ed.], and I am more or less at the same level of the past years for mid-January. And I think that the problems linked to the knee fracture [of the 2006 Giro - ed.] have passed."

This last weekend La Gazzetta dello Sport had an interview with retired sprint king, Mario Cipollini. The Toscano complimented Petacchi's progress but questioned whether he should have made a come back so soon, by returning in the 2006 Vuelta a España.

"I appreciated his words," Petacchi kindly noted of the article that he had read. "I am convinced that I made the right decision last year. On the contrary, to race the Vuelta served as part of my rehabilitation, which in training I was not able to accomplish."

Now we can look forward to seeing Petacchi back racing in Qatar. "It does not interest me, and I am not thinking about it," he summarized, regarding the possibility of a sprint duel with Boonen.

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