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Alessandro Petacchi - Giro Appearance Interview
By Fabio
Date: 5/20/2008
Alessandro Petacchi - Giro Appearance Interview

Alessandro Petacchi - Giro Appearance Interview
I think cycling has changed a lot lately. Unfortunately we have had plenty of problems over the past few years, and many are paying the price. I think I'm paying because of an unfair justice system.

"I think cycling has changed a lot lately. Unfortunately we have had plenty of problems over the past few years, and many are paying the price. I think I'm paying because of an unfair justice system. But you know, you just can't fix such things in just a minute. It's not so easy. I'm confused, but I have never, never thought about calling it a day however".

"The difference between my case and Piepoli's?
Don't ask me, just ask WADA and the UCI. I've got nothing against Piepoli and all, but both of us got a medical certificate, both clearly telling how much Salbumatol we could take; both of us went over the limit, but we were treated differently, and I think the way Piepoli was treated was fair. Mine wasn't".

Asked if WADA wanted to give a strong signal in the Olympic year Petacchi said: "Well, everything is possible. But I can't tell. I don't know. What I know is that my samples were sent to Barcelona along with Leonardo's ... and then we saw the result. I can think everything (could have happened). But I don't want to think of anything now".

"I kept doing my job last year, I kept racing all the time, even got a dozen victories I was later stripped of. I did it because I knew that I was not guilty and I hadn't done anything wrong, and because I had to show respect to everyone. I didn't have any problems, I wasn't worried. I had been acquitted twice. The penalty that came later came as a surprise to me, all I could do was take note of it".

"Milram have always been nice to me, I've never had any problems with them. But the attitude (towards cycling) in Germany is even worse than in Italy, so when I realized that my presence was causing them some problems, I resolved to rescind my contract in order not to make things harder".

Is the law fair and balanced?
Asked whether he thought the law was not balanced and fair to him, Petacchi responded that... a response was not up to him: "I'll let you tell. I won't. What I'm sure of is that my case is atypical: I've never been found positive for any doping substance. I know that the final judgment in Switzerland took nine hours, I heard many specialists from every nation talk, and in the end I realized it was just a scientific problem. Still, all I got was that two-year sanction requested by Wada reduced to one year. Wada was unfair to me, they even wanted me to be banned from racing forever, the TAS tried and met some of my requests, but still I got a one-year ban, which is no small thing".

More on the same topic:
" I'm not here to beg anyone's compassion. I know what I have done, I know I've lost several fans and turned some against me, but I just can't help it. And I "checked" the fans today, and got a good response from many of them, and this was a huge moral boost to me. Yes, I broke the anti-doping rules, that's true, but how did I break them? The sentence speaks clearly. I haven't done anything I should apologize for. I want to make this clear: I've never doped. Others were caught doping, but not me".

Asked whether he thought his case was "used" in a crusade against easy-to-get certificates, Ale Jet responded, "I don't know. I just want to talk about my own certificates. And yes, sure there are different kinds of certificates. They said mine and Piepoli's were different ones indeed, but in the end both were indicating the maximum permitted levels, and both Piepoli and I exceeded them".

So what should us expect from Petacchi once the sanction expires?
"Well, I think that at my age I can still give cycling a lot, I'm here waiting ... I hope that I can have a full redemption and start something new with any team trusting me, perhaps even prior to the season end. I'll be extremely grateful to any team that would put their confidence in me in one of the worst moments in my career, perhaps even the worst. I'll try and do whatever I can to show them my gratitude".

And again: "The problem now is ... how could I handle the next four months. I know from past experience what being far from the races is. I stayed far from cycling when I got a broken knee, and I know how much I struggled to get back to the top. I can tell you that I'll do my best to do it again. In the meantime ... I'll keep myself busy changing my son's nappies".

How about bringing back your ancient leadout men, Alessandro?
"When Erik (Zabel) told me that he wanted to race with me one more year, I was very pleased. I know he's a true champion, and we did great things together at Milram. The same goes with Velo, Ongarato and the other ones. I think any team wishing to hire me would know well the way I worked over the past years, and what my teammates have always meant to me, and I hope they would meet my requests as much as possible, 'cause teammates you trust are a guarantee (of success). But I also know it's going to be hard for us to move en masse to a new team, I'm aware of the fact for some of us it would just be impossible to race together again".

In the end, a few words on the current Giro, and about the presumed low number of top sprinters in the race "Well, Petacchi is not racing, and in case you meant the Giro is missing Petacchi, I would be pleased to hear that, of course. But I don't think there is any lack of sprinters this year. There are the usual suspects, like McEwen and Zabel, and there's Bennati, and they delivered some superb sprint finishes, and then there is Cavendish as well as other excellent young sprinters".

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