Alessandro Petacchi Chases Unique record
Alessandro Petacchi, the quiet fast man of Fassa Bortolo, has an ambitious project this season, to win stages in each of the major Grand Tours in the same year. In cycling history only one man has achieved this record, another Italian, legendary sprinter Pierino Baffi.
In 1958, Baffi won two stages in the Vuelta Return (Zaragoza and Gijón), one in the Giro (San Benedetto) and 3 in the Tour (Royan, Beziers and Paris).
Petacchi has already won six stages in the Giro this year. His start to the Tour could not have been better winning his first ever stage and then again today, and now states his season objective is to equal Baffi’s long standing record and ride in the Vuelta.
In recent seasons several riders have tried; Mario Cipollini in 97, and Jeroen Blijlevens in 98. The Italian won 5 stages in the Giro and the two first stages of the Tour, but he failed in the Vuelta. Dutchman Blijlevens, on the other hand, won a stage in Tour and two in the Vuelta, but in failed to score in the Giro.
After equalling Cipollini 6 victories in the Giro, Petacchi is considered the fastest man on the block, although that is something he modestly will not admit to -
“That is for other people to say. "
On today's stage he said - "I had a great sprint, I'm starting to get into form; lack of racing since the Giro means I am finding the start of the stages hard, but I am getting into form.”
Strangely the Italian does not consider himself comparable to Cipollini: “I am more comparable to Zabel by style and physiology".
Petacchi may not yet have inherited the king of the sprinters title but it may only be a matter of time.
Haselbacher versus Mc Ewen
Rene Haselbacher (Gerolsteiner), who crashed heavily into the barriers during Tuesdays sprint finish may be more badly hurt than originally thought.
At first it was believed he had received only gashes and bruises, however a wound to his elbow was deeper than originally thought and he was sent to hospital for stitches.
It was is still unclear whether Haselbacher can continue in the race and he will decide after treatment in hospital and a night's rest whether he is able to continue.
His version of events differs from Mc Ewens.
Rene Haselbacher said, "I was at the 400 meters mark in the fourth place directly behind Erik Zabel. I knew that all I had to do was to hold his wheel; suddenly McEwen barged into me and I touched Zabel's back wheel. I can remember thnking, 'I hope this wont end up like the first stage' as I started to fall.”
Talking to Reuters McEwen said:
”Haselbacher tried to smash his way into the leading positions but there was nowhere for him to go and he just went down. I was in the middle of it all and had to stop pedalling and try and stay up just as the sprint started. That meant I'd lost it right from the start.”
Boogerd continued the Rabobank's Tour of bad luck, he fell down on his knee in the feedzone. He was back on his bike after a minute, but his knee had to be stitched after he had finished the stage.
Having suffered a fever for the last 48 hours, Saeco are hopeful he will be back to better health tomorrow for the all important TTT.
Official Medical Communication
Boogerd (PBS): Deep wound in the left knee. Had to be sewn.
Haselbacher (AUT): Numerous grazes and bruises.
Mercado (ESP): Stomach problems
Di Luca (ITA): Fever for 48 hours
D Nazon (FRA): Pain in the left knee