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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Fassa Bortolo
Alessandro Petacchi
Country: Italy
Team boss: Giancarlo Ferreti
Team leaders:
Best Tour: 2002 - Ivan Basso seventh; Alessandro Petacchi - four stage wins
It is virtually guaranteed that Fassa Bartolo will have at least two stage wins in the bag such has been leading sprinter Alessandro Petacchi's form.

The Italian has been unstoppable, winning four stages in last year's Tour de France, five in the Vuelta d'Espana and a record nine in the 2004 Giro.

The likes of Robbie McEwen, Baden Cooke and Erik Zabel have rarely come close to the Italian's wheels recently.

But he has yet to finish the Tour - a saving grace for his rivals.

After his triumphs of the Giro, he could struggle to the race end despite insisting he plans to make it to Paris.

It remains to be seen, however, what the team can do when or if Petacchi bows out following the exit of Ivan Basso to Team CSC.

Basso's loss will be a massive one following his impressive seventh place a year ago and the team have not exactly filled the void left by the talented young Italian.

They have bought intelligently - but no one in the calibre of Basso. One of the most notable acquisitions is Juan Antonio Flecha, who has a good Tour de France pedigree following his stage 11 win a year ago.

The legendary Giancarlo Ferreti is still at the head of the team and has been managing cycling teams since the 1970s. He is renowned in the sport as a tactical genius.

So when Fassa Bortolo wanted a team to rival fellow Italian building materials' firm Mapei, they knew where to look for a boss.

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