Twelve months after losing to the strange combo of a veteran like Mario
Cipollini and a debutant like Paride Grillo, AleJet Petacchi took his
revenge on the roads of the Giro della Provincia di Lucca, whose eight edition,
running in the western part of Tuscany today, he sealed with one of his winning
sprints. The Milram rider notched up his sixth success so far this season as he
crossed the line ahead of fellow Italian Claudio Corioni (Lampre-Fondital), of
his own brand new teammate Erik Zabel, and of the aforementioned Paride Grillo (Ceramiche
Panaria-Navigare), unable to hit the podium this time.
Line honors Petacchi. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
Zabel and Petacchi were racing together for the first time today, but the two
looked - and acted - like they have been teammates for a long time, with Zabel
giving the umpteenth display of his talent and class: first Erik gave Petacchi a
great leadout, and later on his celebrations of Alessandro's success were more
eloquent than words.
Stealing the limelight earlier in the Lucca Tour were the Italian Sergio
Marinangeli (Naturino - Sapore di Mare) as well Polish youngster Artur Krol
(Amore & Vita-McDonald's) and Dmitri Nikandrov (Rus - Team Universal Caffè-CB
Immobiliare), who broke clear at km. 60 (after countless previously failed
attempts: first by Italy's Giuseppe Palumbo, Luca Mazzanti, Ivan De Nobile and
Daniele Pietropolli and Sweden's Christopher Stevenson, later by Paolo Bailetti
and De Nobile again, then Swissman Steve Morabito and combative Pietropolli one
more time, and after 42 km. by Elio Aggiano and Latvia's Raivis Belohvosciks
...) and managed to stay away for 112 kilometres, achieving a maximum advantage
of 05'18" by the km. 85 check. They were joined by Tenax tenacious Giancarlo Ginestri after the km. 150 point, but all of them were eventually brought back by the field,
led by (surprise, surprise ...) the Milram and Liquigas chasing machines.
The Italian cycling circus now moves a bit southward for the 2006 edition of
the Tirreno-Adriatico, the "Race of the Two Seas", running from Wednesday, March
8th thru Tuesday, March 14th. With Paolo Bettini as one of the main suspects to
take the overall title, and the "strange pair" (Ale & Ete) ready to rock again.
And ready to continue their build-up for the biggest event of the month, the
Milan-Sanremo, coming a dozen days from now.
Podium: Corioni, Petacchi, Zabel. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
8th Giro della Provincia di Lucca (188 km.) - Top 10 Places:
1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita - Team Milram) - 04h22'39" (43.175 kph)
2. Claudio Corioni (Ita - Lampre-Fondital) - s.t.
3. Erik Zabel (Ger - Team Milram) - s.t.
4. Paride Grillo (Ita - Ceramiche Panaria-Navigare) - s.t.
5. Fabrizio Guidi (Ita - Phonak Hearing Systems) - s.t.
6. Gabriele Balducci (Ita - Acqua & Sapone) - s.t.
7. Domenico Loria (Ita - Team Universal Caffè-C.B. Immobiliare) - s.t.
8. Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra - Naturino-Sapore di Mare) - s.t.
9. Lars Michaelsen (Den - Team CSC) - s.t.
10. Steven De Jongh (Hol - Quick Step-Innergetic) - s.t.
Full results of the race available HERE (PDF File)