Peta opts for Giro ride

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 12.00am
After insisting there was no way at all he would line up in this year's sprinter-unfriendly Giro, Al


Alessandro Petacchi has decided that he will ride this year's Giro d'Italia despite previous loud complaints about how little the route suited him. Speaking at the presentation of his new Milram team in the German city of Bremen on Tuesday, Petacchi admitted he had changed his mind after talking to team manager Gianluigi Stanga on Monday.

"I have made the decision to ride the Giro and also the Tour de France, and perhaps the Vuelta as well," the 32-year-old sprinter said. "It won't be the first time I have ridden in all three major tours. I am going to take on this challenge with renewed enthusiasm."

Petacchi has been highly critical of a Giro route that, he says, only offers him five or six potential stage-winning opportunities. Over the past three seasons, Petacchi has won a total of 19 stages in his home tour, but had insisted that he would not be taking part in the 2006 edition.

Petacchi also revealed that his first objectives this season would be "Milan-San Remo, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders".

Petacchi's decision to opt into the Giro may be the result of negotiations that are reported to have taken place between interests close to the rider and the organisers of the Giro, RCS. It is widely rumoured that RCS are about to shelve plans to change the final stages of Milan-San Remo which would not have favoured Petacchi's chances of retaining that title.

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