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Familiar face tops GP Costa degli Etruschi podium

Team Milram's Alessandro Petacchi made it four in a row with his win at the GP Costa degli Etruschi on Saturday. The race serves as the Italian season opener. Gabriele Balducci (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) and Francesco Chicchi (Team Liquigas) finished second and third in the final sprint.

"It's always beautiful to win the debut because it gives you a morale boost and pushes you to work always harder," said Petacchi. "I felt very good. I have worked a lot harder this winter - on the bike, with specific training and activities that did not take my knee awhile to recover." The 34 year-old broke his kneecap during the Giro d'Italia in 2006 and suffered from the after-effects of the injury for a long time.

"Near the end, with about two kilometers remaining, I lost the draft of my team-mates because of the poor riding in front of me - I was afraid of falling. Then in the last curve, I made a big move and got back onto the wheel of my train. In the end I was flying to a good win."

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.