Could Petacchi come back as a lead-out man?

Alessandro Petacchi has terminated his contracted with the Lampre-Merida team and is spending time with his family but it seems he could make a comeback in time for the Tour de France or the Vuelta a España, working as a leadout for another sprinter.

The 39 year-old Italian announced he had ended his contract with Lampre-Merida after 18 years as a professional. He said he lacked motivation and wanted to spend more time with is family and especially his son Alessandro Junior. However Petacchi has told Gazzetta dello Sport that he has not retired for good.

Cyclingnews understands that Petacchi accepts he is no longer competitive in sprint finishes – he has not won a race since last May - but could interested in working for another sprinter.

Last October, Petacchi confirmed to Cyclingnews that he had been approached by Mark Cavendish to serve as his lead-out man prior to signing on again with Lampre for 2013, while helping Cannondale's Peter Sagan in the sprints could also be a possibility. Petacchi is apparently open to offers, with the right project far more important than the money.

"It's wrong to say I've retired. I haven't closed the door on cycling and don't know what the future will bring," Petacchi told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I've got nothing to hide, otherwise I would have just kept quiet. It just didn't make sense to carry on, I haven’t got the right motivation. I felt okay early in the season and only missed out on some results due to making some mistakes. I tried some new things and rode Flanders and Roubaix but then I thought: 'Now what? Ride the Tour? To do what?'

It seems Petacchi no longer wanted the pressure of being a team's nominated sprinter who is expected and paid to win sprints. However, he is interested in a different role.

"Every decision depends on how it affects my son. He's five and it was becoming more and more difficult to say goodbye when I went away to races."

"To be honest I perhaps haven't realised what's happened. I definitely need a break. I don’t know what will happen but I hope something will happen."

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.