Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) will once again be the Italian sprinter to watch at the Giro d’Italia, as he showed his great condition by winning the queen stage of the 47th Presidential Tour of Turkey in Pamukkale.
Other top sprinters like Tyler Farrar, Andre Greipel, Allan Davis and Andrea Guardini didn’t make the front group of 48 riders, while stage 3 winner and race leader Manuel Belletti pulled out due to fever. Two climbs at the beginning of the stage, wet conditions and road works in progress made the race very hard and rendered Petacchi's win all the more significant.
"I still don’t know how, but I managed to stay in the first group," Petacchi said, amazed by his agility on the climbs. He thought about it for a few seconds and then said, "Actually I know the amount of work I've done before the Tour of Turkey. I've trained a lot on Mount Etna with Michele Scarponi for the Giro d'Italia. I've climbed Etna six times in 11 days and that was only to go back to the hotel, we've done many other climbs as well. I've become leaner. I've improved my climbing for sure but I'm probably less explosive in the sprints."
Petacchi acknowledged that his victory in Pamukkale compensated for the errors he committed in bunch sprints earlier in the race.
"I also made two mistakes in the bunch sprint finishes at the beginning of the Tour of Turkey," he said. "[Valentin] Iglinskiy did a great sprint on stage 2 but I opened it 50m too early. Had I waited a bit more, I would have won that stage but if I had to choose my wins, I'd prefer to win today anyway because this was a really hard stage. Considering my characteristics as a rider, it means that I'm in good shape before the Giro."
Petacchi's Turkish campaign is not over though, as there might be a few more bunch sprint finishes coming up in the next few days. "I'll use them to complete my preparation for the sprints of the Giro," the Italian said. "This will replace the sprinting efforts I didn't do at training because I was busy working on my foundations and my climbing with Scarponi."
Having received a penalty of one minute because of irregular behaviour in the sprint of stage 1, the Italian isn't the race leader in Turkey. "It doesn't bother me much," he said. "I would have enjoyed wearing the turquoise jersey but I haven't planned to finish the Tour of Turkey. I'll probably leave the race one day before the end anyway because we have to go to the Giro on May 3, so if I fly back to Italy after the end of this race here, I wouldn't even have time to open my suitcase at home."