PIC BY RODOLFO ESPINOSA/MARCA Petacchi goes for more wins in Valenciana The 65th Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana gets under way today with a 162.7 km stage starting and finishing in Alzira. 2005 winner, Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi (Milram), will be gunning for more success, having just come off three stages and the overall win in the Volta ao Algarve. But the five day Valencian tour features an uphill finish on the Alt del Campello in stage 4, which will prevent the likes of Petacchi from winning overall. Other riders to watch in Valencia include Petacchi’s teammate Erik Zabel, Vuelta a Espa¤a winner Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne). Stage list Stage 1, February 27: Alzira – Alzira, 162,7 km Stage 2, February 27: Calp – Calp, 148.2 km Stage 3, March 1: Vila Real – Vila Real , 151.8 km Stage 4, March 2: Albaida – Alt Del Campello (Vallada), 162 km Stage 5, March 3: Valencia – Valencia, 146.9 km Illes Balears stops as sponsor The government of the Balearic Islands will stop its sponsorship of the Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears team. “The demands of the UCI and of the main sponsor [Caisse d’Epargne] have made it difficult to reach an agreement with [management company Abarca Esport],” said a government executive in a communiqu. The executive also thanked the team for its work over the last three years, with highlights being Alejandro Valverde’s performances in the ProTour and Oscar Pereiro’s (still potential) victory in the Tour de France. The government’s general director of sports, Pepote Ballester, was quoted by AS as saying, “The pressure of the UCI and the media on doping matters are not helping cycling. Neither is TVE, which has not been broadcasting the races lately.” Simoni to do MTB World Cup Saunier Duval’s Gilberto Simoni will take part in the mountain bike marathon world cup in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria on March 17. The Italian, who has won the Giro d’Italia twice (in 2001 and 2003), is aiming to do all the world cup events this year. He is even said to be considering a move to the off-road discipline after this year’s Giro. “The mountain bike motivates me a lot, and taking part in the marathon world cup is a challenge,” said Simoni. The Gran Canaria marathon will be 90 km long. New sports director for CSC Team CSC has announced the hiring of Jrgen V. Pedersen as a sports director. The 47 year-old Dane, who once wore the yellow jersey for five days in the Tour de France, has been involved with the team since 2006. “I called and spoke to Bjarne a few years ago, and then all of a sudden he calls me up and asks if I want to work with him on the sponsorship with Nobili in 2006, where I’ve been responsible for the contact between the team and the sponsor,” said Pedersen on team-csc.com. “It has been a fun and interesting job. “Then, when Tristan Hoffman announced this fall that he was leaving his job as a sports director, Bjarne had to find a replacement. And in the end he asked me and we have come to an agreement, which in a way completes the circle for me after having started as a rider myself.” Pedersen is looking forward to re-immersing himself into the cycling scene. “A lot has happened within the cycling sport since I was a rider and of course I’ll have to get myself up to speed, so I’ll be taking it slow at the beginning, watching and learning from the other sports directors,” he said. “I’ve got quite a lot of contacts through my previous job – especially in Italy – so I won’t have a problem with all the practical stuff. But life as a rider is very different from when I was a neo-pro living in a small room with no heating or phone in the early eighties. So it’s probably a whole other mentality now as well. But I’m very much looking forward to it all.” Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
Alessandro Petacchi hopes to add to his win tally in the Volta a Valenciana. Also, Illes Balears sto