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Petacchi searches for new team, major races

Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini)

Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi says he is ready to leave LPR Brakes one year early in order to find a new team that can offer guaranteed participation in top races. Petacchi, who has won four Tour de France stage in his career, is in negotiations with top-level ProTour teams for the 2010 season.

"What races can I do in this second part of the season? Coppa Bernocchi, but then I don't know what else," Petacchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I don't have the certainty of a specific schedule and without the Vuelta a España and Paris-Tours the motivation is no longer very high."

Petacchi won two stages and wore the leader's jersey for one day in this year's Giro d'Italia. His stage wins and the second overall of Danilo Di Luca was viewed as a success for the second-division team of Fabio Bordonali. However LPR Brakes have struggled since, with non-invites to several important races and the recent news that Di Luca doped during the Giro.

Di Luca faces a likely two-year suspension for using banned blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) - CERA.

"I think it is unlikely that I will remain," said Petacchi. "LPR is leaving and Bordonali is forced to find an important replacement. Towards the end of the Giro the team shared some great feelings, but now I no longer feel content."

Italy's LPR Brakes has a two-year contract with Bordonali that ends this year. The team is currently in negotiations with LPR Brakes and other companies for 2010 and beyond, Bordonali told Cyclingnews.

Petacchi, 35, has won 15 races since he joined LPR Brakes one year ago. He won the Paris-Tours in 2007 and has claimed 19 stages of the Vuelta a España in his career. Both are races that LPR Brakes will miss this season's end.

"I understand his [lack of] motivation," said Bordonali told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "If Alessandro would no longer like to continue with us, I won't do anything to hold him back."

Petacchi's agent has a meeting with the manager of ProTour team Lampre-NGC, Giuseppe Saronni, tomorrow.  Petacchi believes that he can race at the upper level for another two to three years.

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