Ricco Wins Stage 2 of Giro; Pellizotti Takes Maglia Rosa
Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) has won Stage 2 of the Giro. The Italian surged into the lead in the last 100 m to take the rugged, 207-km ride from Cefalu to Agrigento in 5:48:35. Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) and Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) finished second and third, respectively, while Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) took the maglia rosa.
After an early sally by Dioniso Galporoso (Euskaltel), Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux) and David Loosli (Lampre) escaped at 37 km. The peloton did not lift a pedal to stop them, and at one point, the pair led by 10:10. The bunch woke up and reduced the fugitives' advantage to 9:20 at 102.8 km, 8:15 at 122 km, and 4:40 at 146 km.
Liquigas and Astana drove the peloton. With 55 km left, a railroad crossing took down a number of riders. The most seriously injured was Dave Zabriskie (Slipstream), who suffered a fractured vertabra. Five km later, the break was reeled in, and Slipstream went to the front to control the pace.
With 10 km remaining, LPR Brakes took over. The Italian squad's pacemaking reduced the peloton to 50 riders. LPR Brakes led the field into the four-km climb to the finish, and attrition continued to take its toll on the peloton. With one km left, Joaquin Rodriguez (Caisse d'Epargne) bolted into the lead.
For a time, the Spaniard looked like a winner. Paolo Savoldelli (LPR Brakes), however, towed Di Luca to the Caisse d'Epargne rider. With 100 m left, Ricco came off of Di Luca's wheel for the win. He should have thanked Di Luca for the leadout.
Naturally, Ricco was jubilant. He was relieved as well. "After so much bad luck," the Saunier Duval man said, "I can have my victory at last. I want to thank my teammates, who've been so wonderful, especially Leonardo Piepoli, who's helped a lot in the final stretch. Paolo Savoldelli helped, too, with his job for Danilo Di Luca, which led to the final sprint. I took off with 200 m remaining, and to be honest, I myself was surprised at my strength. This is the sign I'd been waiting for, telling me I'm okay. This triumph is for my team, my family, and my girlfriend."
In the overall, Pellizotti leads Christian Vande Velde (Slipstream) by 0:01 and Chris Anker Sorensen (CSC) by 0:07. Stage 3 will not change this stage of affairs. The riders will ride along the perimeter of Mount Etna for the first 95 of the stage's 221 km from Catania to Milazzo. The remainder of the stage will be flat, and a sprinter should win. Who will it be? Robbie McEwen (Silence)? Mark Cavendish (High Road)? Erik Zabel (High Road)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!