Skip to main content

'Ale-Jet' Petacchi hits back

Image 1 of 33

The sixth win of 2008: Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram), 34, celebrates after winning stage four of the 43rd Tirreno-Adriatico

The sixth win of 2008: Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram), 34, celebrates after winning stage four of the 43rd Tirreno-Adriatico
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 2 of 33

'Pippo' Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) in the race's finale

'Pippo' Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) in the race's finale
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 3 of 33

Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) went with the final move on Corva

Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) went with the final move on Corva
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 4 of 33

Italian Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) help start the move

Italian Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) help start the move
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 5 of 33

Team-mates Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step) (l-r) at the start.

Team-mates Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step) (l-r) at the start.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 6 of 33

Franco Ballerini talks to Paolo Bettini (Quick Step).

Franco Ballerini talks to Paolo Bettini (Quick Step).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 7 of 33

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) signs.

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) signs.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 8 of 33

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) with the fans.

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) with the fans.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 9 of 33

Gianni Savio with Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) and Raffaele Illiano (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) (r-l) at the start.

Gianni Savio with Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) and Raffaele Illiano (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) (r-l) at the start.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 10 of 33

Meet-n-Greet at the start for Paolo Bettini (Quick Step).

Meet-n-Greet at the start for Paolo Bettini (Quick Step).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 11 of 33

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) overwhelmed by the fans.

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) overwhelmed by the fans.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 12 of 33

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) rolls out with Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC).

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) rolls out with Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 13 of 33

Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne) looks at himself in yesterday's paper.

Joaquím Rodríguez (Caisse d'Epargne) looks at himself in yesterday's paper.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 14 of 33

Photographer Roberto Bettini has some fun.

Photographer Roberto Bettini has some fun.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 15 of 33

Roberto Bettini photographing the action.

Roberto Bettini photographing the action.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 16 of 33

Mirror image.

Mirror image.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 17 of 33

Oroz takes a descent at full speed.

Oroz takes a descent at full speed.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 18 of 33

Oroz in the break with Krauss and Dion.

Oroz in the break with Krauss and Dion.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 19 of 33

Paolo Savoldelli (LPR Brakes) on the front.

Paolo Savoldelli (LPR Brakes) on the front.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 20 of 33

Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) punches the gas.

Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) punches the gas.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 21 of 33

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) (centre) with past and current world champions Igor Astarloa (Team Milram), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step) (l-r).

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) (centre) with past and current world champions Igor Astarloa (Team Milram), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) and Tom Boonen (Quick Step) (l-r).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 22 of 33

Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld) forms the escape group with Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) (r) and Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) (l).

Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld) forms the escape group with Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) (r) and Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) (l).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 23 of 33

Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) in the finale with Igor Astarloa (Team Milram).

Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) in the finale with Igor Astarloa (Team Milram).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 24 of 33

Italian Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) fires.

Italian Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) fires.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 25 of 33

Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) watches Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld) and Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) (l-r).

Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) watches Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld) and Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC) (l-r).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 26 of 33

'Pippo' Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) on his own during the finale.

'Pippo' Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) on his own during the finale.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 27 of 33

A tight sprint: Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) (l) battled Oscar Freire (Rabobank) (r) to take stage four of the Tirreno-Adriatico.

A tight sprint: Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) (l) battled Oscar Freire (Rabobank) (r) to take stage four of the Tirreno-Adriatico.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 28 of 33

Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) tops Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) (l, 3rd) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) (r, 2nd).

Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) tops Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) (l, 3rd) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) (r, 2nd).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 29 of 33

Petacchi punches the air with delight after betting Oscar Freire (Rabobank).

Petacchi punches the air with delight after betting Oscar Freire (Rabobank).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 30 of 33

The sixth win of 2008: Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram), 34, celebrates after winning stage four of the 43rd Tirreno-Adriatico.

The sixth win of 2008: Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram), 34, celebrates after winning stage four of the 43rd Tirreno-Adriatico.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 31 of 33

Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) explains his win to the TV camera.

Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) explains his win to the TV camera.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 32 of 33

Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) thanks the support crew.

Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram) thanks the support crew.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 33 of 33

Right and left, 'Ale-Jet' Petacchi is kissed in recognition of his stage win.

Right and left, 'Ale-Jet' Petacchi is kissed in recognition of his stage win.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Good showing by Milram sprinter with Sanremo on horizon

Beaten three days ago in the opening stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico, 'Ale-Jet' Alessandro Petacchi hit back in stage four by beating Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Filippo Pozzato (Liquigas) in Civitanova Marche. The 34 year-old Italian of Team Milram showed his form is on target for Milano-Sanremo, March 22, when he resisted a surge by Spaniard Freire at the end of the 166-kilometre day. Swede Niklas Axelsson (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) kept in contact with the head group to retain the leader's maglia azzurra he claimed yesterday on Montelupone.

"I think that the team did a great bit of work," said an exhausted Petacchi after the win. "That last rise [GPM Corva, -8.7km - ed.] was demanding and I knew I needed the team. I had to fend off Freire who was stuck to my wheel. I went a little long, but I was able to pull it off. Thanks to my wife and [soon to be born] baby."

Team Milram worked hard to ensure its captain ruled in the seaside resort town. It was hit with and successfully defended against an attack by Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) at eight kilometres to go, which drew along favourites Freire, Pozzato, Fabian Cancellara (Team CSC), World Champion Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) and race leader Axelsson.

After a surge by Manuel Quinziato (Liquigas), German Erik Zabel took control at 450 metres to go with his leader, Petacchi, in tow. It was a long lead-out and a good test for Sanremo, in one week's time. Zooming down the right hand side of the road, Petacchi came off the left of Zabel's wheel at 200 metres. The Italian from La Spezia held of Freire, who started just a little too late.

"We are near a great race [Sanremo - ed.] and it is clear that everyone wants to see how I am doing. Second the other day and winning today is good for the morale. I have always been up there in the last years at Sanremo," Petacchi added regarding La Classicissima.

'Pippo' Pozzato held with Petacchi and Freire – two riders who have a faster sprint – to finish with an impressive third. "I am happy with my condition, and the only thing that I missed is the win. If I win at Sanremo then all will be great," noted the rider from Veneto.

How it unfolded

After the battering of yesterday's Montelupone, 164 riders rolled out of Porto Recanati hoping for an easier day. At least with the parcours – the last 4.75 kilometres flat – it would be ridable, whereas yesterday many were forced to walk the final metres.

Joost Posthuma (Rabobank), who was involved in yesterday's crash with Riccardo Riccò (Saunier Duval-Scott), did not start.

There were many attempts at freedom, particularly from the USA-team, Slipstream, and after the first hour of racing, there was a successful move. Renaud Dion (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Juan José Oroz (Euskaltel-Euskadi) broke free at kilometre 41, and they were joined by Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner) some kilometres later. The trio had 2'15" at kilometre 47, and by the GPM of Petritoli (km 58.4) the gap was at 3'00" to the gruppo, led by yesterday's escapee, Loyd Mondory (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

Oroz got back to his buddies after a flat tire, and they were now holding a gap of 4'35" at kilometre 77 in Belmonte Piceno. However, from this point on the gap started to fall. The undulating roads were taking their toll on the leaders, and on the stretch leading to Innesto it was only Oroz and Krauss in the lead with 20 seconds on the group, which had seen an active Martyn Maaskant (Slipstream Chipotle - H30).

Heading towards the Corva GPM, the escape was washed away and a group of favourites were leading the affairs. Andrea Tonti (Quick Step) started a move with Ballan, and they were joined by Bettini, Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Marco Corti (Barloworld), Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld), Luis Pasamontes (Caisse d'Epargne), Nick Nuyens (Cofidis), Emanuele Sella (CSF Group Navigare), race leader Axelsson, Jussi Veikkanen (Française des Jeux), Markus Fothen (Gerolsteiner), Gerald Ciolek (High Road), George Hincapie (High Road), Linus Gerdemann (High Road), Thomas Lövkvist (High Road), Patxi Vila (Lampre), Daniele Pietropolli (LPR Brakes), Freire, Matti Breschel (Team CSC), Cancellara, Igor Astarloa (Team Milram) and Luca Mazzanti (Tinkoff Credit Systems).

The move gained only 13" by the top of the climb (km 157.3), and with 8.7 kilometres to go it would be hard to hold off Milram, who were organising a chase. Petacchi's boys had their leader in the front group with 2000 metres remaining.

Latest on Cyclingnews