Tom Boonen is showing that the World Champion’s curse does not apply to him. Maybe it is the magic of the mullet? Boonen has been dominating the competition in the Middle East winning the Doha GP and two stages of the Tour de Qatar. Boonen has been undefeated in races where he has worn the World Champion’s jersey.
The man who wanted to wear Boonen’s multicolored shirt will be starting his season in the GP Costa delle Etruschi. Alessandro Petacchi ended 2005 on a dissapointing note as he was heavily favored to win the World Championships road race, but did not have the gas to get to the end. A new team may mean a fresh start for many cyclist, but Petacchi had a formidable leadout train already established. The new Milram team brings in a few Fassa Bortolo men from the “Silver Train” to the new blue team. Boonen’s Quick-Step team have developed a formidable train of their own, and it seems to be clicking already in January. Will Petacchi feel that he has to respond to Boonen’s domination in the Mid-East by taking a few early wins in the GP Etruschi?
Petacchi may face some hungry sprinters such as Enrico Degano of Barloworld, who will want to take a win for the newly revamped team under Claudio Corti. Fabio Baldato is now on the small Tenax team and may feel a bit rejuvanted. Plus, there may be the presence of the new Brazilian sprinting sensation Murlino Fischer. Petacchi may have his hands full and it is only February.
The GP Etruschi starts on Febrary 3rd.