“I don’t know how much more I can ride my bike,” said Alessandro Petacchi. We’re guessing the answer is, never again.
The 36 year old Italian sprinter, who just two days ago beat Mark Cavendish for a Vuelta stage win, has abandoned the Spanish grand tour. After yesterday’s crash, he’s injured, he’s mentally drained and the Italian doping authorities are about to terminate his career.
In short, he doesn’t feel so hot. “I’m in a deep shit”, he told the Vuelta a España’s press service. “I feel like a dead man. My arm is painful. I’ve had a bad night. I have no morale.” Always hard to keep up morale when the police are questioning your wife and raiding your homes and stealing salami and cheese from your fridge.
Petacchi perhaps took an early leave to go back to Italy and make a last ditched attempt to save his career before the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) hammers him into submission, They’re investigating him on charges of using synthetic blood Perfluorocarbon (PFC) and human serum albumin back in 2009. Perfluorocarbon sounds like a gas additive so maybe that’s what made the Italian’s engine race so fast.
Sprinters are aggressive and finish fast but this might be Petacchi’s last run. Unlike the UCI or the Spanish cycling federation, CONI does not mess around. Just ask Alejandro Valverde. This would be a possible four year ban since it would be his second offense. During the 2007 Giro d’Italia, he tested positive for excessive levels of asthma medication, Salbutamol.
With CONI closing in, we’re guessing Petacchi is having trouble breathing right now, asthma or no asthma.