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Petacchi not on Discovery's radar for '06

Tour de France remains top goal

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Despite recent reports in the Italian media that Alessandro Petacchi is in preliminary talks with the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team for 2006, Discovery sports manager Johan Bruyneel was surprised when we asked him if he could confirm the rumours. Bruyneel told Cyclingnews that "There is no truth to the (Petacchi rumours) whatsoever. We aren't even talking to anyone now and are totally focused on having a good Giro d'Italia with Paolo Savoldelli and then winning the Tour de France."

Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo team only has a one year ProTour license and at this year's team presentation, team owner Paolo Fassa clearly confirmed that he was seeking a major co-sponsor for 2006 to help support the financial burden of the squad. Although Fassa Bortolo team general manager Giancarlo Feretti missed out of the major team co-sponsorship of French bank Caisse d'Epargne that went to Illes Balears this spring, Feretti is reportedly in talks with a Dutch-based multinational to come on board next year. Meanwhile, Petacchi's managers aren't sitting still in the case that Fassa Bortolo doesn't find a co-sponsor next season, reportedly shopping a Petacchi package of the super-sprinter and five teammates (Bruseghin, Tosatto, Sacchi, Ongarato and Velo) for three million Euros per season.

Meanwhile, Johan Bruyneel reports that the Discovery Channel's march to the Tour in seven weeks is going well, telling Cyclingnews from Madrid that "Lance is at home in Texas and he sounds very focused and his training is going well. He'll return to Europe in the near future and we'll begin our recon of key Tour stages soon."

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