By Bart Hazen
When hearing the words Fassa Bortolo, one thinks
immediately of one specific rider. A rider who has the most 2005 season
victories so far (16 total) of all the professional riders in the peloton. You
know the name right? …No?...Of course you know him...It’s Alessandro
"Ale-jet" Petacchi. But Petacchi can’t do it alone. Around him has been
built a team made for the sprint king himself. It’s under the slogan:
all for one, one for all. It’s a decision of team manager Giancarlo Feretti
that led to 9 Petacchi stage wins last year. In the following section we will
discuss the 9 riders of the Fassa team. The first one will be the team leader himself.
Alessandro was born on 3 January 1974 in La Spezia.
He turned pro in 1996 with Scrigno and rode there till the end of 1999. In 1999
the team name was changed to Navigare. In the first 4 years as a pro he won only
1 race - a stage in the Tour de Langkawi. He was not a top sprinter at all in
these years. He attacked a lot and tried to win races at this way. In 2000 he
switched to Fassa Bortolo and he won a lot of races. He won 9 races in 2000, among them 2 stages in the Vuelta
d’Espana and a stage and the final ranking of
the Giro della Provincia di Luca.
In 2001 he won 5 races, and 3 of them where
stages in the Settimana Ciclista Internazionale. He also completed the Tour de
France in that year but without a stage win. In 2002 he won 13 times and the
most beautiful wins in this year were 2 stages in Paris-Nice and 1 stage in the
Vuelta. But he still won no stages in his beloved Giro d’Italia. The Lion King (Cipollini)
was still the best. 2002 was the year that Cipo won the World-Championships in
In 2003 it was the final breakthrough for Petacchi - he won 6 stages in the
Giro d’Italia, 4 stages in the Tour de France and 5 in the Vuelta. But at the
end of 2003 he won 24 races. In 2004 his success where not over: he won, among
stages in the Giro, 4 in the Vuelta, 3 in the Tirreno-Adriatico and became 4th
in Milan-Sanremo. The only disappointment so far in his career, but that disappointment
was over in the present season.
Alessandro takes over the status of Cipollini as
the Italian sprint king and won (what Cipo did before too) Milan-Sanremo in a
magnificent way beating Hondo and Hushovd in a beautiful sprint. So far in this
season Petacchi has amongst Milan-Sanremo 15 other wins. Among them 3 stages
in Tirreno-Adriatico and 3 stages in the Vuelta a la Communidad Valenciana. He
won also the final ranking of the Valencia Tour and was 2nd behind
Freire in Tirreno.
As you can see Petacchi is a sprinter. But beginning this year he
is also climbing much better then before. He lost in the winter 3 more kilos
and trained more on his climbing skills. And with result regarding the final win
in Valencia and the 2nd place overall in Tirreno. In the end of 2004
he married with Anna Chiara which is a good stimulus to do well in “his” Giro
d’Italia. The other sprinters have to be very good to beat Ale-jet. Otherwise it
will be a great one-men show in the sprints. Of course after the good work before of
the famous “Fassa-Train”.
Ale-jet. Photo by Bart Hazen.
Fabio was born 13 June 1968. He turned pro in 1992. He rode for GB-MG, MG-Technogym,
Riso-Scotti, Ballan, Fassa Bortolo and Alessio, and since the beginning of this year
again for Fassa Bortolo. Baldato has also a lot of victories because he is a
sprinter and was a very good sprinter in the past with the battles against
Steels, Blijlevens, Abdousjaparov, Cipollini, Minali, etc.
He won also several
stages in the Grand Tours: 4 in the Giro (3 in 1993 and 1 in 2003), 2 stages in
the Tour de France (1995 & 1996) and 2 in the Vuelta (1996). Further he won a
lot of other races like the Henninger Turm, stages in the Eneco Tour, Tour of
Romandy, Tour of Poland (2 of them last year), the Coppa Bernocchi, stages in
Paris-Nice, etc., etc. So far this year Fabio did a lot of good work for Petacchi and for other riders in the team who were team leaders in some races.
His best effort so far is the 14th position in the Tour of Flanders.
In the coming Giro Fabio will be one of the lead-out men for Alessandro. So
watch out for him in the famous Fassa-Train. A bit of luck - Angel Vicioso
won’t start for Liberty Seguros. So one rider less to knock him to the ground
(see 1st stage in Tour de Romandy. Baldato finished his job for
Petacchi and crashed after a move of Vicioso).
Baldato. Photo by Christine Grein.
Marzio was born on 15 June 1974. He became pro in
1997 with Brescialat and rode there for 2 seasons. In 1999 he switched to the
Spanish Banesto team where he rode till the end of 2002. In 2003 he joined the
Fassa squad and has brought a lot of success for the team due to his work.
So far Bruseghin has no real victories so it must be the mountains competition in the
Giro del Trentino (2003) and the Giro d’Abruzzo (1998). Further he finished 8th
in the Volta a Catalunya (2001), 8th in the Dauphine Libere (2002),
was 2nd and 4th in Giro stages in 2003. The 2nd
place was in a time-trial. And last year he was 6th at the World
Championships time trial in Bardolino-Verona and 6th in the Giro di
Lombardia. So far in this year there are no remarkable results.
As you can
see, Marzio is a good climber and can do well in the time trials. Also he is one
of the best helpers in the team around Petacchi. I’m sure we can expect Marzio
on all the fronts the coming 3 weeks if his injury is not too serious. Last week
in the GP Industria & Artigianato he crashed in full sprint. Androni-Giacottoli
rider Raffaele Ferrara
got a “exploded” tire and crashed and Bruseghin couldn’t avoid him. Due to this
some bikes where flying trough the area and some other riders like Ermeti
crashed too. It was a hugh crash (see this
topic). Bruseghin and
the others where taken to the hospital but without any serious injuries. The
only thing they had was a light shock. But let’s hope for him he will be
recovered and that we can see some great work of Bruse. The GP Industria in
which Marzio crashed was won by Panaria rider Luca Mazzanti, by the way.
Bruseghin. Photo by Bart Hazen.
Massimo was born on 27 February 1973. He became pro
in 1998 with the Mapei team. In 1999 he joined Lampre where he rode for 4 years.
In 2003 he was one of the teammates of Marco Pantani in the last year the
successful team of Mercatone announced to stop sponsoring. Since 2004 he has
ridden for Fassa. Codol's success year was in 2000, winning the Japan Cup and
the first stage in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco. Further in 1999 he was 2nd
in the 20th stage of the Giro. In 2002 he was 5th in
Liege-Bastogne-Liege, 10th in the final ranking of Trentino and 14th
in Romandie. In his first and only year with Mercatone he finished 15th
in the Giro and in the year 2005 he was 8th in the final ranking of
the Settimana Ciclista Internazionale.
As you can see Codol is a rider for the
General rankings and the hills/mountains. Besides his work for Petacchi in the
flatter stages we can expect him together with Bruseghin and Gustov in the
heavier stages as well.
Codol. Photo by Bart Hazen.
Marco Velo was born on 9 March 1974. He became pro in 1996 with Brescialat. In
1998 he joined Mercatone Uno and in 2002 he switched to Fassa Bortolo. His
success year, where he could ride for himself, was in 1998. Since he is a member
of the Fassas he has had a lot of success to but then due to Ale-jet himself.
is Petacchi's last lead-out rider and finished several times in the top 10 as
well. In 1997 he won a stage in the Giro del Trentino, in 1998 he won the GP
Wilhelm Tell, The Copa delle Nazioni and a stage in the Wilhelm Tell. In 1999 he
was the best in the GP Llodio which was his last victory so far.
joined Fassa, Velo was an excellent rider in the heavy races like Amtel Gold
Race, Coppa Placci, Giro di Lombardia, Fleche Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege,
etc. But he never won one of these classics but finished all of them in the top
15 once. In 2001 he was also 11th in the Final Ranking of the Giro. Velo is an excellent lead-out rider as I said before, because he can produce an
big speed in the last hundreds of meters. Besides that Velo is still a good
rider agains the clock and finishes regularly in the top 10 after he prepared
the sprint for Petacchi. He can also climb really well. In the coming Giro he
will have the same role and we can expect some good efforts of him.
Marco Velo. Photo by Bart Hazen.
Volodymir was born on 15 February 1977. He turned
pro in 2000 and rides his whole pro-career for Fassa Bortolo so far. Gustov has
one victory so far and that is the General Ranking of the Regio Tour in 2003. In
his best year, 2003, he was also 7th in the final ranking of
Paris-Nice. Further he finished also in the top 10 of the Tour of Poland (2001
2002), was 11th in the Bici Vasca (2001) and 14th in the
Setmana Catalana (2002). In his first pro year 2000 he was also 2nd in the
Ukrainian Championships. Gustov can ride well in the
hills/mountains and has good climbing abilities. In the coming Giro he have to
work for Petacchi and can go for own success probably in the hilly stages.
Gustov. Photo by Christine Grein.
Alberto was born on 24 July 1975. He turned pro in 1998 with Ballan where he
rode for 2 years. In 2000/2001 he rode for Mobilvetta, in 2002 for De Nardi, in
2003 for Cipo’s Domina Vacanze team and from 2004 he has ridden for the Fassa
team. He switched from the former sprint king Cipo (who retired a week ago)
to the new Italian sprint king.
Ongarato will, together with Velo, Bruseghin,
Sacchi, Baldato and Tosatto, be one of the lead-out men in the Fassa-Train for
Petacchi. But also Ongarato can sprint well. He won stages in the Volta a
Portugal (2000 and 2004), a stage in the Classica Alcobendas (2002) and won a
stage in the Giro d’ Abruzzo (1998). Further he won also some
points competitions which means he is very consistent in placing himself in the
front of the stages. He has also a lot of top 10 ranks in Italian semi-classics
and other European top-races like Gent-Wevelgem, Kanton Aargau and the Henninger
Ongarato. Photo by Christine Grein.
Fabio was born on 22 May 1974. He became pro in 1997
with the Italian Polti team. He rode for that team till the end of 2000. In 2001
he joined the Saeco team and in 2004 he switched to Fassa.
Fabio is a good rider
who can sprint, can work for the team and can do well in the hills. So far he
has 9 victories. In 1998 he won the Coppa Bernocchi, in 2001 he won the 2nd
stage in the Tour Down Under, in 2002 he won 2 stages in the Vuelta a Murcia and
won the Trofeo Cita di Catelfidardo. In 2003 he won the Giro di Romagna and
again the 2nd stage in the Tour Down Under. In 2004 he won a stage in
the Volta a Portugal and this year he was the best in Milano-Torino.
As you can
see he wins, not much, but as he wins the victories are beautiful. Further he has
a lot of short ranks in a lot of Italian races, in Paris-Bruxelles, Tour of
Flanders, Milano-Vignola, Coppa Agostoni etc. In 2005, besides his win in Milano-Torino he was also 3rd in a stage in the Tour of Mediteraneen
and was 16th in the final ranking of the Tirreno-Adriatico after a
lot of work for Petacchi. In the coming Giro he will be one of the lead-out
riders for Petacchi. If it’s possible he can also go for own success but that
depends on Petacchi his feelings.
What other leadout riders see... Photo by Bart Hazen.
Fabio Sacchi. Photo by Christine Grein.
Matteo was born on 14 May 1974. He became pro in 1997 with MG-Technogym. In 1998
and 1999 he rode for the Ballan team before switching in 2000 to Fassa Bortolo.
Matteo has 8 victories so far. In 1998 he won the Giro del Medio Brenta. In 2000
he won the 5th stage in Paris-Nice, in 2001 he won the 12th
stage in the Giro and the Combativity classification in P-Nice. In 2002 he won
the Coppa Placci and the mountains competition in the Regio Tour. And his last
victories are dating from 2004 where he won the GP Kanton Aargau and the Giro di
Matteo doesn’t win that much, like Sacchi, but when they win the races are
very beautiful and highly ranked. Further he has a lot of top 10 ranks in the
higher ranked Italian races like Giro di Romagna, Giro di Lucca, Coppa Bernocchi,
Trofeo Matteotti, Giro del Veneto etc. In 2000 he was also 2nd in the
Also for Matteo, the same as the whole team of Fassa; they
have to work in the flat stages for Petacchi. And they can go for own success in
the other stages but that depends on how Petacchi survives them and how he
Tosatto. Photo by Christine Grein.
But no matter how ready the Fassa Bortolo team
is to rock & roll in the Giro D’ Italia. You don’t have to ask if Petacchi
is going to win a stage. You can better ask how many stages is he going to
So watch out starting Saturday. The proloque is 1150 meters in distance and it is
probably a race which is perfect for Petacchi. It’s 1150 mt in one straight way.
If he won’t win the prologue, stay tuned on Sunday. His Giro account will be
opened then if nothing goes wrong.