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97th Paris Tours - Preview Part Two
 
By Podofdonny
Date: 10/1/2003
97th Paris Tours - Preview Part Two
 

97th Paris Tours

Please visit the official site here.

Paris Tours preview part one here.

World Cup Round 9

Mighty Fassa Bortolo enter Paris Tours wishing to prove a point or two. Not that the world's number one ranked team have much to prove; indeed the latest UCI rankings for teams are:

1. Fassa Bortolo (ITA) 7 845,75 pts
2. Quick Step-Davitamon (BEL) 7 643,75 pts
3. Team Saeco (ITA) 7 456 pts
4. Telekom (BER) 7 451,50 pts
5. iBanesto.com (ESP) 6 153 pts
6. Gerolsteiner (GER) 6 010 pts
7. Cofidis (FRA) 5 669 pts
8. Rabobank (HOL) 5 554,75 pts
9. US Postal-Berry Floor (USA) 5 504,75 pts
10. ONCE-Eroski (ESP) 5 497,25 pts

So just 202 points between Fassa and QuickStep, certainly a lot to ride for between these two teams, both who will be eager to claim the coveted top spot.

Accordingly, Stefano Zanatta has selected a heavy weight squad for the “sprinters Classic.”

The team is - Bartoli, Ivanov, Kirchen, Loda, Petacchi, Petito, Tosatto and Trenti.

"© Unipublic".

Of course where as USA fans will be delighted to see the talented Guidi Trenti once again in the squad of the star spangled banner, Bartoli, the warrior, who recently won the Giro del Lazio (read Fabio’s excellent account here), has been omitted from the famous “Squadra Azzurra.” 

Following his victory in the “Hell of the South” the “Warrior” was less than optimistic about being chosen for the squad - “What about Hamilton? Well, I can't avoid thinking of it, but I also believe that all the important decisions about the Italian team have already been taken since a long, long time...” however he will certainly see Paris Tours as a chance to prove a point and will be highly motivated.

However, much as Bartoli would like to win to prove a point to Italy’s National Team Coach Franco Ballerini, he is by no means favourite in the race even within his own squad (which is of course the same dilemma that Ballerini faced).

The clear cut favourite in the Bookmakers' eyes is the winningest of winners, Alessandro Petacchi.

Read about the “Squadra Azzurra” here.

"© Unipublic".

The speed merchant from La Spezia started his winning streak a way back in February when he won the Trofeo Luis Puig and has not stopped winning since  The “Silverteam's” fast man has delighted fans world wide with 24 times throughout the season, or, if you include criteriums, 28 first steps on the podium.

He also broke the record set by Miguel Poblet (Spain) who in 1956 had 8 Grand Tour victories: three in the Vuelta (Valladolid, Albacete and Alicante), four in the Giro (Mantova, Salerno, Rapallo and Sondrio) and one in the Tour (Rochelle). Only Pierino Baffi had also achieved victories in all three major Tours in his special year of 1958: two in the Vuelta (Zaragoza and Gijón), one at the Giro (San Benedetto della Tronto) and three in the Tour (Royan, Beziers and Paris). Petacchi set new standards for sprinters when he smashed the great Poblet's record with 6 wins in the Giro, 4 in the Tour de France and then an amazing 5 in the Vuelta.

"© Unipublic".

However, there is another reason why Petacchi will be keener than usual to make his normal “counting salute” as he crosses the line, as a quick look at the UCI individual rankings reveals:

UCI rankings 28 September:
1. Paolo Bettini (ITA, Quick Step-Davitamon) 2 096,75 pts
2. Erik Zabel (ALL, Telekom) 1 993,75 pts
3. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA, Fassa Bortolo) 1 856 pts
4. Davide Rebellin (ITA, Gerolsteiner) 1 774 pts
5. Gilberto Simoni (ITA, Team Saeco) 1 752 pts

So after his incredible season Petacchi is just 240 points behind fellow countryman Paolo Bettini (Quick Step-Davitamon), always world number one. Interestingly, the number of UCI points for the winner of Paris Tours is 240 points. So high stakes in this race not only for Petacchi but also for fellow fast man Erik Zabel - both know that a victory here could see them end the season as the highest ranked racer in the world.

"© Unipublic".

So plenty to ride for in this years Paris Tours outside the World Cup arena. Certainly Ballerini’s decision to exclude Bartoli will be under the spotlight, while fans of the fast men will be wondering if Petacchi can write another incredible chapter in his amazing season.

"© Unipublic".

 
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