McEwen Wins Stage 2 of Giro
Robbie McEwen (Predictor) has won Stage 2 of the Giro d?Italia. The Australian took a bunch sprint from Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) and Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) to win the rolling, 205-km ride from Tempio Pausania to Bosa in 5:07:13. Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) has taken the maglia
The stage was ridden in warm, sunny conditions. At 25 km, Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff), Simone Masciarelli (Acqua e Sapone), Mauro Facci (Quick Step), Frederic Bessy (Cofidis), and Arnaud Labbe (Bouygues Telecom) rolled off of the front. At 97 km, the five led the field by more than six minutes and Masciarelli was the virtual maglia rosa, but with the second half of the course being hilly and with Liquigas chasing for Gasparotto and especially for Di Luca, the quintet did not figure to remain in the lead.
And so it was. At 133 km, 4:00 separated bunch and break. Labbe was dropped on the Category 2 Villanova Monteleone, and the remaining four break members led the peloton by 3:00 just shy of the summit. Five hundred meters short of the summit, Brutt set out on his own.
Masciarelli was dropped, and Predictor joined the pursuit. With 30 km remaining, the three remaining break members led the field by 2:00. Ten km later, Brutt descended to Bosa with a 45-second lead on the field. The bunch reeled in Facci and Bessy with 10 km left. At this point, Brutt had a 0:20 lead.
With seven km left, Emanuele Sella (Panaria) attacked on the day?s final climb, and Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) followed. Pablo Lastras (Caisse d?Epargne) countered and passed Sella and Brutt, whom the peloton captured. Quick Step chased and reeled in Lastras with five km left. Many of the sprinters, such as Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Graeme Brown (Rabobank), were dropped. McEwen?s teammate Dario Cioni had shepherded him to the front, where he took Petacchi?s wheel at the end of the Milram train. Bettini took McEwen?s wheel.
With 1,200 m left, Andrea Tonti (Quick Step) crashed into the barriers, and the peloton split. About 20 riders were in position to contest the sprint. With 200 m, Petacchi made his move. The Milram man, however, is not as fast as he was before he broke his kneecap in last year?s Giro. McEwen passed him and held off Bettini for the win.
In the overall, Di Luca leads teammates Gasparotto and Vincenzo Nibali. Stage 3 will be a rolling, 181-km ride from Barumini to