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Petacchi starts season at Etruschi

Today's GP Costa degli Etruschi will be the first competition outing for top Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) who will be hoping to start his season off with a bang in the same way as Tom Boonen has started his. A showdown between the two is a way off, but Petacchi's Milram team-mate Erik Zabel has been unable to get past the Boonen missile in Qatar, and a victory for Ale-Jet in Etruschi will help boost his morale ahead of their eventual first meeting.

Petacchi won in Etruschi last year, but says he is not so confident of his form this year. "My condition is not so brilliant as last year," he said. "I want to make a good performance. The GP Costa degli Etruschi brought me a lot of fortune: to win again would be the best way to start the season."

Petacchi won't have things all his own way. Last year's runner-up, Luciano Pagliarini (Saunier Duval - Prodir) will be looking to improve on that finish, and other speedsters including Danilo Napolitano (Lampre), Fabio Baldato (Tenax), Daniele Colli (Liquigas) and Enrico Degano (Barloworld) all looking to add their names to the Etruschi honour roll.

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