Shorts: Peta, Nuyens, CV, Hulsmans

Petacchi turns his sights to Vuelta after knee op, several teams interested in luring Nuyens from Qu

Petacchi turns his sights to Vuelta after knee op, several teams interested in luring Nuyens from Qu


Alessandro Petacchi went under the surgeon's in Pisa's Hospital San Rosore on Wednesday two days after fracturing his kneecap in stage three of the Giro an being forced to abandon the race. Petacchi is hoping he might still have a chance of starting the Tour de France on July 1, but has already started thinking about focusing on the Vuelta in September. "I hope the x-rays I have in three weeks will win me some time," said Petacchi. "I am desperate to start racing and winning again, but I don't want to rush my rehabilitation as I still have several years in the sport ahead of me." The Italian sprinter will be in plaster for five weeks.

- There is likely to be a bit of a bun fight for the signature of Belgium's Nick Nuyens, who is out of contract with Quick Step at the end of this season. Davitamon-Lotto and T-Mobile are both reported to be interested in last year's Tour of Britain winner, and Rabobank have also come into the frame. "He's a young rider who seems to have a big margin for progression," said Rabobank team manager Theo de Rooij. "Given the upcoming retirements of Erik Dekker and Marc Wauters, he seems like an ideal replacement for the spring Classics." De Rooij has already spoken to Nuyens about a move, although the Belgian could still decide to stay with Quick Step.

- Comunitat Valenciana team boss Jos Luis Aznar has decided to step down from that position on May 29 after more than two years in the post. Aznar said he had made the decision for personal reasons, admitting he had not had even a week off during the last two and a half years, during which the team has been taken from turmoil following the ending of its long association with Kelme to success in the shape of an invite to this year's Tour de France.

- Quick Step's Kevin Hulsmans has fractured his right collarbone after falling off his bike during a training ride between Nice and Monte Carlo with world champion Tom Boonen. "After two hours of training in the hills surrounding Monte Carlo, we were riding the last few kilometres on the road that leads from Nice back to Monte Carlo at a speed of about 40 kilometres per hour," Boonen explained. "All of a sudden, a child wearing roller-skates shot out and crossed the road in front of us. Kevin fell in order to avoid colliding with the child." Hulsmans returned to Belgium on Thursday morning for further investigation of his injury.

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