Alessandro Petacchi has accepted that he will not be able to ride the Giro d'Italia as leadout man for Mark Cavendish at Omega Pharma-Quick Step after the UCI refused to allow him to join the Belgian team outside of the official rider transfer window.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step named its team for the Giro d'Italia on Tuesday night, with Gert Steegmans and Iljo Keisse expected to help Cavendish in the sprints.
Petacchi terminated his contract with Lampre-Merida after riding Paris-Roubaix, claiming he was tired of the pressures of being a designated team sprinter expected to win races. He hoped to find a lesser role and Omega Pharma-Quick Step team was keen to sign him to boost their lead out train and appease Cavendish. However the UCI refused to allow the move, despite a lack of clarity in their own rules.
The 39-year-old Italian may still be able to join a new team before the transfer window opens on August 1 but it is unclear if Omega Pharma-Quick Step want and need the veteran Italian for the Tour de France.
The UCI has still to explain why it refused to allow Petacchi to join Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
"I have to accept the decision of the international federation not to allow me to make a comeback in time to ride the Giro d'Italia. The UCI interpreted the rules in a very strict way which has stopped me returning to the peloton with a different role which is more suited actual dimension as a rider," Petacchi lamented in a note sent to the Italian Tuttobici website.
"At 39 I could have helped younger riders gain experience but now I can't even do my job. I'm disappointed but I soon hope to have a meeting with the management of the UCI to resolve the bureaucratic obstacles that affected my registration."
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