Petacchi Wins Stage 7 of Vuelta
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won his third stage of this year?s Vuelta a Espana.
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won his third stage of this year?s Vuelta a Espana. Petacchi dusted Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) in a bunch sprint to take Stage 7, a 170-km run from Castellon de la Plana to Valencia in 3:53:04. Manuel Beltran (U.S. Postal Service) remains the overall leader.
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From the start, the racing was aggressive. The attacks began at three km, and at 20 km, Daniele Righi (Lampre), Patrick Calcagni (Vini Caldirola), Erki Putsop (Ag2r), Jose Galindo Elias (Relax), Herbert Garcia Gutierrez (Cafes Baque), Ruslan Ivanov (Alessio), and Carlos Tarres Torrent (Paternina) escaped. The septet led by almost five minutes at 60 km.
The stage contained two categorized climbs, the Category 3 Coll del Marianet at 45 km and the Category 2 Puerto de Montemayor at 80 km. After the second of these climbs, Fassa Bortolo and Rabobank began to chase. Eventually, Cofidis joined the Italian and Dutch squads at the front and reeled in the break with 18 km remaining.
For much of the run to the finish, the peloton was leaderless. The sprinters? teams seemed to take a break, while the GC squads moved up to keep their leaders out of trouble. With four km left, however, Fassa Bortolo took over at the front. Zabel and Freire battled for Petacchi?s wheel, with the German winning the fight.
Fassa Bortolo led the field to the finish. With 300 m left, Petacchi moved around leadout man Marco Velo and into the lead. Zabel attempted to pass the Italian, but Petacchi opened the gap with each pedal stroke. He won by about two bike lengths.
In the overall, Beltran leads teammate Floyd Landis (U.S. Postal Service) and Denis Menchov (Illes Balears). Stage 8 will change the standings. The flat, 40.1-km individual time trial to and from the Ford factory in Zaragoza should see riders such as Tyler Hamilton (Phonak) and Aitor Gonzalez (Fassa Bortolo) come to the fore. Who will win the stage? Who will take the overall lead? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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