Back from his short faux retirement, Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma Quickstep) apparently touched wheels with Gabriel Rasch (Sky) and brought down a number of riders.
The “Russian Roulette Race of Benelux,” as Phinney jokingly called the Eneco Tour, turned out to be an unfortunate day for the American and we can’t help wondering if Petacchi is bad luck.
A man has to know when to retire — just ask Lance Armstrong about that one — and we’re thinking the aging Italian sprinter and new lead-out man for Mark Cavendish is losing his skills and judgement.
Remember that in the 2012 Tour de France, it was Petacchi who decided it was a good time to take off his shoes covers and pass them to teammate Davide Vigano. It was a windy, high stress day and the peloton was flying downhill at 70k. Vigano took one hand off the bars to stick the covers in his jersey pocket, then couldn’t brake when needed and his crash took out a number of riders.
That crash was ultimately Vigano’s fault but maybe that wasn’t a great idea on Petacchi’s part to be handing over shoe covers at that moment in the race, either.
When Armstrong came back for what would turn out to be his final Tour de France, he crashed repeatedly. After an astonishing run of good luck during his seven Tour wins (since stripped) the Cycling Gods (and FLoyd Landis) said enough, you’re done.
Perhaps the Cycling Gods are starting to send Petacchi a message in Italian.