Peta some way from his best

The big showdown between world champion Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi at the Ruta del Sol has n

The big showdown between world champion Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi at the Ruta del Sol has n

PIC BY LAUTA COMMUNICATION

Now a couple of days into his first stage race appearance of the season, last year's 'winningest' rider, Alessandro Petacchi, has admitted he is still some way short of his best form. The Milram sprinter has said he has been affected by flu that hit him at the end of last year and also by disrupted travel plans.

Currently riding at the Ruta del Sol, Petacchi told the Spanish Todociclismo website, "I spent two weeks, from the end of November to the middle of December off the bike due to a high fever and a sore throat, for which I took antibiotics for several days and, consequently, led to my start to the season being put back."

Petacchi confessed that last week's success in the GP Costa Estruchi, his first race of the season, came as a huge surprise to him given his relative lack of conditioning. He also said he didn't fancy his chances of beating world champion Tom Boonen if the two go head to head in a sprint at this week's Ruta.

"I felt very bad on the first stage. In addition to the lack of form, I have also had to contend with fatigue after spending several hours in airports on the way here. I missed connections in Pisa and Madrid, that has taken its toll and I don't know how I am going to respond during the rest of the race," said Petacchi.

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