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The Petacchi flap continues...(9 posts)

The Petacchi flap continues...spyderman
Jul 14, 2003 11:38 PM

Quick exit for Petacchi

In the very first serious mountain climb of the 2003 Tour de France, sprint leader Alessandro Petacchi has called it quits. The withdrawal of the Italian winner of four stages in this year's Tour sparked harsh criticism, including from his own team. Baden Cooke takes over the green jersey.

BIANCHI'S GUIDI: "Our goal is to win the Tour!"

Petacchi had hinted at withdrawal when he said he didn't feel as strong physically as during the Giro where he won six other stages. But that statement was made before blowing away the competition in consecutive sprint stage wins on Thursday and Friday.

"Never did I think I would drop out in these conditions," he told Eurosport after being shuttled to the finish line in Morzine Saturday. "I knew conditions weren't optimal for me and after 10km, I understood there was no use in going on. I deeply regret it."


Petacchi's withdrawal sparked controversy. Interviewed by Eurosport France live just after Petacchi got in a team car, Fassa Bortolo boss Giancarlo Ferretti openly vented his wrath after making two other team-mates wait for him:

"It's crazy. We did everything possible to prevent this retirement. He quit while trailing [the pack] by what a minute, a minute-and-a-half. I don't understand. He wasn't ill before the stage started."

While Petacchi has spent the entire complaining that the press tries too hard to compare him to Italy's undisputed sprint king, Mario Cipollini, there's no doubt that his withdrawal will only fuel the comparisons.

After all, Cipollini won 12 stages on the Tour de France, but never once finished the race.

Fans have been quick to clamour for sanctions against Petacchi.

"The only sanction you can take is to not invite the team the next year. That's what happened with Cipollini," explains two-time Tour de France winner Laurent Fignon, an analyst on the Tour for Eurosport.

He agreed with the unabashed anger expressed by Petacchi's team boss on our airwaves. "Ferretti seems to feel that Petacchi didn't want to make the effort. It's a lack of respect for the race and for himself. Ferretti seems to think that Petacchi could have made an effort at least today. It's not that hard a stage."


But for Petacchi, it's one thing to sprint, another to climb.

"I finished the Giro exhausted, especially after my fall in the time trial. I didn't prepare the Tour the way I would have liked. I'm proud of the four stages I won here and wish I could have done more."

What about the Vuelta?

"My intent is to prepare it properly. If I ride a major Tour, I want to ride it all the way. I'm deeply sorry about having to leave here in this manner."
What a disgraceBen S
Jul 15, 2003 5:47 AM
Petacchi was phenomenal in taking the several stages in the Tour. I could not believe he dropped out on the first climbing stage. His boss should be pissed. My feeling is that if you can't make a good faith effort to ride the entire tour, then you shouldn't start it. Petacchi is a quitter and showed a lack of respect for the tour and the other riders.
What a disgraceClydeTri
Jul 15, 2003 6:15 AM
and that is why Cipo hasnt been in the last few TdF's....he, Cipo, has shown he lacked the will to finish.
Why noone has problem with McEwen quitting Giro??cyclopathic
Jul 15, 2003 6:59 AM
Garzelli quit, Gonzales quit, look how Simoni is riding. Maybe it's too much to ask.
Mcwen is a pussy too. The Giro should exclude his team...eschelon
Jul 15, 2003 7:09 AM
if he is in the squad. I'm tired of these pussies quiting after they get their win(s).
Fassa Bartolo should be excluded in next year's Tour...eschelon
Jul 15, 2003 7:08 AM
if Petacchi is going to be in that squad.
so should Lotto from Giro nmcyclopathic
Jul 15, 2003 8:18 AM
Not a McEwen fan but...biknben
Jul 16, 2003 10:07 AM
McEwen had only won one stage when he dumped the Giro. He wasn't doing much anyway.

Petacchi OTOH, had made the biggest impact on the race up to that point and was wearing the green jersey.

It shows little respect. These guys should have learned from the Cipo situation. Repsect the tour or loose invitation.
maybe it's too much to askcyclopathic
Jul 17, 2003 5:44 AM
2 tours 10 wins, crash in Giro. Besides he didn't cut the time in Giro, what makes you think he would survive in tour?