Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi on Tuesday announced his retirement from professional racing at the age of 39.
“Having reached the ceiling of 200 victories I feel that I need a change in my life, to find another dimension and also to commit more time to my family,” said Petacchi.
Pettachi won the sprinters’ green jersey at the Tour de France in 2010 and picked up six stage wins in the sport’s primary stage race during a 17-year career. He won a total of 48 stages in the big three tours, including six in the 2003 Tour of Italy when he succeeded compatriot Mario Cipollini as his country’s foremost sprint star.
In that year alone he won an incredible 15 stages at the three grand tours and a year later he claimed a record nine stages during the Giro d’Italia as he also won the points classification jersey. His other notable successes were winning the Milan-Sanremo classic in 2005 and Paris-Tours two years later.
Known as “Ale Jet”, Petacchi claimed 22 stage wins in the Tour of Italy alone, although that would have been more had he not been stripped of five more from the 2007 Giro when he was caught doping. He was banned for a year in 2008 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport having tested positive for salbutamol, despite the Italian Cycling Federation originally exonerating him. Since 2010 he has been riding for the Italian Lampre team, although his main success came under the colours of Fassa Bortolo and Team Milram.