Cooke Wins Stage 3 of Med Tour
Baden Cooke (La Francaise des Jeux.com) has won his second stage of the Mediterranean Tour. The Australian outsprinted Mario Cipollini (Domina Vacanze) and Aurelien Clerc (Quick Step) to win the 122-km ride from Rousset to Berre l'Etang in 2:17:09. Igor Astarloa (Cofidis) remains the overall leader.
The racing began early. At 32 km, Sandy Casar (La Francaise des Jeux.com), Nicolas Portal (Ag2r), Gilles Bouvard (RAGT-Semmence), Michael Albasini (Phonak), and Maxim Rudenko (Chocolade Jacques) sallied off of the front. The quintet's advantage maxed out at 1:30 before the sprinters' teams began to chase.
With 12 km left, the bunch caught the break. Domina Vacanze went to the front to set up Cipollini. With 200 m remaining, the Lion King surged around teammate Mario Scirea into the lead. Cooke followed on the right. Cipollini attempted to block the Aussie against the barriers, but Cooke was having none of it. He passed Cipollini for the win.
In the overall, Astarloa leads Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) and Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches La Boulangere) by 0:02. Stage 4 will be a 147-km ride from Greasque to Marignane. Will Astarloa remain in the lead? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!