Petacchi: 'It was a stupid fall'

Alessandro Petacchi reveals his anguish at leaving the Tour de France with no stage victories to add

Alessandro Petacchi reveals his anguish at leaving the Tour de France with no stage victories to add
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE His left forearm suspended across his chest in a sling, Alessandro Petacchi stepped gingerly out of his Fassa Bortolo team bus this morning and spoke of his heartache at abandoning the Tour de France for the second consecutive year. One of several riders to fall on a saturated stretch of road 104km into Wednesday's stage, Petacchi had lain face down on the tarmac for several seconds before remounting his bike. The Fassa Bortolo star duly finished the stage safely tucked into the peloton, but was immediately rushed to hospital in Chartres for x-rays. Petacchi did his best to partake in the usual pre-stage banter in the Fassa clan this morning. A crumpled smile, though, merely veiled his true sentiments. As he told procycling: "It was a stupid fall: I fell badly on my arm and it turns out that I've done ligament damage to my shoulder," Petacchi revealed. "I'll have to go back to Italy this afternoon for an MRI scan. I hoped that the pain would ease overnight, but no. I woke up this morning and couldn't move the arm." Asked whether, having failed to take any of his three opportunities for a sprint win, cycling's most prolific sprinter had sensed that his Tour was cursed all along, Petacchi didn't hide behind excuses. "I don't feel cursed," he said, "but the most frustrating aspect of my Tour was that I was in better shape than last year. I just hadn't managed to sprint like I should have or like I know how to all week. That makes me sorry. After the nine stages I won at the Giro, it would have been nice to add one from the Tour. "I can't say that I'll take anything positive from this race," Petacchi continued. "I've achieved so little here. To be frank, it hasn't been a great experience. Marco Velo crashing and pulling out certainly didn't do us any favours, and now it has happened to me. A stupid fall. All I can do now is go home, get the injury looked at by a specialist and rest for few days. I can't move my arm, so I don't see how I can get back on my bike and start training tomorrow. I can't make any plans at this stage." A short distance away, Fassa Bortolo manager Giancarlo Ferretti aired his hope that Petacchi's withdrawal be viewed with sympathy by the French media. A year ago, when Petacchi was forced out by a virus as the Tour hit the Alps, the Italian's resilience was widely questioned, his lack of respect for the Tour derided. Even Ferretti briefly joined in the criticism. Today the veteran Italian directeur sportif said that he would "not tolerate the French press doubting [Petacchi's] motivation". "Alessandro came here with the intention of reaching Paris, with or without a stage win," Ferretti asserted. "I'll be mad if the French press jump on this and make a scandal out of this."
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