Alessandro Petacchi Wins Stage 2 of 2011 Giro d'Italia ahead of Mark Cavendish
Alessandro Petacchi won a mass sprint Sunday to take the second stage of the 2011 Giro d'Italia, with Mark Cavendish (Team HTC-Highroad) finishing second to take the overall lead.
Alessandro Petacchi won a mass sprint to the finish line this afternoon to take the second stage of the 2011 Giro d'Italia, with Mark Cavendish finishing second to take the overall race lead. Watch video of the stage finish in our video section.
Team Lampre's Petacchi captured the 2011 Giro d'Italia's longest stage, completing the 244 kilometer (151-mile) ride from Alba to Parma in 05 hours, 45 minutes, 40 seconds. Cavendish beat Manuel Belletti of Colnago for second place.
Three time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador of Team Saxo Bank-SunGard finished in the main pack, placing 29th in the same time.
Cavendish took over the pink leader jersey from his Italian HTC-Highroad teammate Marco Pinotti, who won the first stage. The Briton claimed veteran Petacchi impeded him in the sprint by changing direction three times. Petacchi brushed away the claims and so did the officials.
"To be honest, the only thing that I noticed is that when I saw him coming up before the sprint, I let him pass along the barriers," Pettachi commented and added "I could have closed the door but I didn't."
"It's great to be back in the lead of a race as big as the Giro and nothing can overshadow that." Cavendish told Roadcycling.com after being celebrated on the podium and continued "To go into tomorrow's stage wearing a pink jersey is an incredible feeling."
Cavendish even hopes to win tomorrow's stage. "I absolutely think it's possible, for sure it's not as easy as today and it's a very technical finish, but it could happen, and even the next day too."
Cavendish has an overall time of 6 hours, 6 minutes, 27 seconds to lead HTC-Highroad teammates Kanstantsin Sivtsov of Belarus and Craig Lewis of the U.S.A. by 12 seconds.
Contador is 42 seconds behind Cavendish in 41st place.
After today's longest stage of the Giro Alberto Contador told Roadcycling.com "It was a very long stage marked by the heat with temperatures of 34 to 35 degrees (celcius) which is not very common at this time of the year. The stage was very fast and a bit nervous because of the escape in the finale but we were very alert and the team has supported me throughout the stage."
Contador also had praise for today's soloist breakaway rider. "Considering the heat and length of the stage, it takes guts to go in a break today, but what makes the day tough is the kilometers rather than heat. But I'm in good hands and we're all feeling well."
The Spaniard is competing in the Giro d'Italia while his doping case is being appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
He tested positive for clenbuterol while winning the 2010 Tour de France, but was cleared of doping by the Spanish cycling federation after he blamed the result on eating contaminated beef. Cycling's governing body and the World Anti-Doping Agency have appealed to the CAS, which is expected to issue a ruling before this year's Tour in July.
Germany's Sebastian Lang of Team Omega Pharma-Lotto took the early initiative Sunday when he impressively broke away after only two miles and opened up a lead of 20 minutes.
The chasing pack eventually caught him 16 miles from the finish, but only after he had taken the points on offer for the intermediate sprint and the mountain jersey.
An eight-man group then tried to pull away and built a lead of 30 seconds, but was caught by the pack with 5 miles to go.
The 21-stage Giro d'Italia 2011 finishes in Milan on Sunday, May 29.
Watch video highlights from every stage of the 2011 Giro d'Italia in our video section.