Petacchi terminated his contract with Lampre in April 2013 only to return to the peloton within months as part of Mark Cavendish’s lead-out train at QuickStep. He won the GP Pino Cerami in April of this year and later raced at the Giro d’Italia for Patrick Lefevere’s team, but he has not been retained for next year.
“I was certainly very disappointed because I was very happy at the Belgian team,” Petacchi told Tuttobici. “Initially they spoke to me about signing again, but then my 40 years must have weighed on their thinking and I can understand that.”
In spite of that disappointment, Petacchi said that he would like to continue racing “for one more year.” He acknowledged that he no longer has the top-end speed to compete with the likes of Cavendish and Marcel Kittel but expressed interest in playing a supporting role in 2015.
“I know well that I can’t compete with the strongest sprinters in the world anymore and I don’t want to throw myself into certain bunch sprints either, but I feel good and I think I could be useful for a certain type of work, perhaps for some young sprinters,” Petacchi said.
Petacchi has reportedly been in talks with Luca Scinto’s Neri-Sottoli squad about a deal for 2015, but he told Tuttobici that he has also attracted interest from two foreign teams. “I’ve had three interesting contacts, two with foreign outfits and one with an Italian team that has young sprinters, so my experience could be useful,” he explained.
Petacchi was due to travel to Japan on Wednesday evening for the Japan Cup in Utsunomiya and its preceding criterium, his final races in the colours of Omega Pharma-QuickStep.
“When I get back from Japan I’ll make my decision,” he said. “I’ve received various interesting offers to stay in cycling in other roles, but when I still feel emotions when I get on the bike, so I’d like to continue for at least another year.”