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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 13:13 GMT 14:13 UK
Alessandro Petacchi
PETACCHI FACTFILE
Alessandro Petacchi
DOB: 3/1/74
Nationality: Italian
Best Tour: n/a
Prior to this year's Giro d'Italia, Alessandro Petacchi was hardly discussed as a man to push the likes of Mario Cipollini or Robbie McEwen on such a regular basis.

But he sped to five stage wins, eclipsing both men who later retired from the event.

Whether the Italian has expended all his efforts on just the one tour remain to be seen.

But, even if he fails to be a major contender for the green jersey in the Tour, his Fassa Bartolo team-mates will undoubtedly be pushing him for some first-week stage victories.

Aside from the Giro, Petacchi has done little of note on the season calendar.

But, following wins on stages one, five, six, 13 and 16, the Italian can now be considered one of the world's best sprinters and has certainly earned the respect of the peloton.

His aggressive sprinting style, however, has angered some of his peers.

Despite that, the Italian could yet prove to be the future of sprinting as the likes of Erik Zabel and Cipollini reach the twilight of their careers.



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