Baldato Wins Stage 2 of Giro After McEwen is Relegated
Fabio Baldato (Alessio) has won Stage 2 of the Giro.
Fabio Baldato (Alessio) has won Stage 2 of the Giro. The Italian took the 177-km stage from Copernico to Matera after Robbie McEwen (Lotto), who crossed the finish line first, was relegated for irregular riding. Gabriele Colombo (Domina Vacanze) and Giuliano Figueras (Panaria) finished second and third, respectively. Stage 1 winner Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) remained in the maglia rosa.
Because of the heat in southern Italy, the race began slowly. The peloton was still together when it reached the climb to Monte Scaglioso with 22 km remaining. Elio Aggiano (Formaggio Pinzolo) attacked, and Paolo Tiralongo (Panaria) and Hernan Munoz (Selle Italia) joined him. The bunch reeled them in, but Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno) and Julio Perez (Panaria) applied pressure that split the field into several parts.
John Fredy Gonzalez (Selle Italia) led the field over the top of Monte Scaglioso. After the descent, Mercatone Uno pressed the pace. During the approach to Matera, Vini Caldirola took over for a time.
The sprint was wide open. Fassa Bortolo led out Petacchi, but Figueras attacked on the right. On the left, Baldato and McEwen overtook the Panaria rider. With 30 m remaining, McEwen forced Baldato toward the barriers and threw an elbow. Baldato raised his hand in protest, and the judges relegated McEwen.
In the overall, Petacchi leads Baldato by 0:04 and Colombo by 0:19. Stage 3 will have a harder finish than Stage 2 and will not favor the sprinters. The 145-km run from Policorno to Terme Luigiane will feature a hilly final 55 km and an uphill finish. Who will prevail? Casagrande? Garzelli? Simoni? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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