Petacchi at the Tour?

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29.06.2007/ Team Milram announced its team roster for this years Tour de France. One of the riders on the Milram roster is Alessandro Petacchi although Petacchi will be heard by the Italian anti-doping authorities on Monday, after the UCI confirmed that the Italian sprinter has tested "non-negative" for salbutamol.

Copyright Heinz Zwicky
Petacchi: Will he celebrate in France as well? (picture: Heinz Zwicky,

As reported Alessandro Petacchi is suspended by his Milram team at the moment. But although his hearing at the Italian anti-doping authorities (CONI) is scheduled for Monday it seems that the Milram team and the Italian sprinter have good faith in hte outcome. Although Petacchi is still suspended by the team, the winner of the points jersey in this years Giro d'Italia is at the roster of the Milram squad for this years Tour de France.

In a pressrelease the team announced: "Team Milram announces its selection for the Tour de France. With the Italians Alessandro Petacchi, Alberto Ongarato and Alessandro Cortinovis, the Australian Brett Lancaster as well as the five German riders Erik Zabel, Ralf Grabsch, Marcel Sieberg, Christian Knees and Enrico Poitschke, Team Milram sends a well-adjusted selection to France. Vittorio Algeri and Antonio Bevilacqua will accompany the team as sports directors.

At the end of the statement the team says: "Due to the still open increased amount of the permitted asthma-spray Salbutamol with Alessandro Petacchi, it is not sure at the moment if the Italian will start at the Tour de France. On Monday, Petacchi will talk before the disciplinary commission of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI – Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano). If Petacchi is able to explain the data plausibly, he is allowed to start again at once. If not, the Italian Olympic Committee returns the case to the Italian Cycling Federation (F.C.I.), which decides on the degree of penalty then. 'The team sticks to the ProTour teams’ ethic code. Accordingly we are obliged to suspend Petacchi until the case is solved," Milrams commercial manager Gerry van Gerwen explains. The Italian Olympic Committee plans to publish the results of the disciplinary commission on 3rd July 2007.

The other Milram riders for this years Tour de France

In the year after Team MILRAM’s Tour premiere, where Erik Zabel sprinted to rank two of the points classification, the team’s goal for this year’s Tour de France is clearly defined: As many stage wins as possible for Milram.

For Erik Zabel, who celebrates his 37th birthday on the start day of the tour, this is the 13th participation at the Tour de France. From his point of view, the team performance is in the foreground. "I want to be a full part of Team Milram and celebrate successes together with my team at the Tour de France,“ says Erik Zabel. Christian Knees and Ralf Grabsch are doing their second Tour de France this year. At his Tour debut in 2006

Knees was brilliant at a break, in which he codetermined the stage for a long time and finally was awarded the red number of the stage’s most active rider. This, the 26 year-old wants to repeat. "One of my personal goals is to be in a break again and maybe even to get trough. But in the first instance the work for the team is in the foreground of course," Christian Knees says.

"About Ralf Grabsch it can be said that he, at the last Tour de France, excelled especially in the first week and in the mountains. This year, with his impressive solo escape at Paris – Roubaix, he absolutely convinced us that he is an important man for the Tour the France," commercial manager Gerry van Gerwen explains. "For me, the Tour de France is the season’s second highlight after the springclassics," Ralf Grabsch says. "First of all it’s important that our team can celebrate a stage win. And I want to make my contribution to that," Grabsch says about his goals.

Marcel Sieberg and Enrico Poitschke are the debutants in the German Tour selection. With his strong performance in the first half of the season Sieberg qualified for the Tour de France at first go. "Marcel very soon integrated himself into the team very well," says Gianluigi Stanga. For the 25 year-old the Tour de France is the first tour over three weeks. "I’m excited about the whole event. I always dreamt of being at the Tour de France once. I especially resolved to do good work for the team and to arrive in Paris. Maybe I can even show myself in the one or other break," Sieberg describes his goals.

For Enrico Poitschke it has always been an important aim to start at the Tour de France. "At Team Milram I had the possibility to do the Tour for the first time. Before, I was always at smaller teams which didn’t start there. Now it worked out, and it is another absolute challenge to me," Poitschke says.

"Like in the year before, the first Tour week is of special importance to us again. We’re going to France with a well-adjusted Team which is able to force the sprint excellently. What matters most is that in the end a Milram-pro wins," Stanga defines his team’s intention during it’s second participation at the Tour.

The equipe is completed by the Italians Alberto Ongarato and Alessandro Cortinovis as well as Brett Lancaster from Australia. "Brett Lancaster surprised us positively from the very beginning. He integrated himself very well into the Milram-train, especially in the last months and is an excellent cronoman as well," Gerry van Gerwen says. Brett Lancaster is looking forward to the challenge Tour de France. "For me, it is an absolute dream to be there. I just want to do a good job for the team, and who knows, maybe I can even win the prologue," the 28 year-old says.

The Italians Alberto Ongarato and Alessandro Cortinovis are looking forward to the Tour de France as well. Ongarato starts at the Grand Boucle for the first time, for Cortinovis it is the third participation. Both want to be at the team’s service and perform successfully at the Tour de France with their team.

Team Milram for Tour de France:

1. Zabel, Erik

2. Ongarato, Alberto

3. Grabsch, Ralf

4. Knees, Christian

5. Lancaster, Brett

6. Sieberg, Marcel

7. Poitschke, Enrico

8. Cortinovis, Alessandro

9. Petacchi, Alessandro

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