Bettini Wins Stage 1 of Giro, Takes Maglia Rosa
Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) has taken the maglia rosa in the Giro d?Italia. The Olympic champion rode away from the field in the final km to win the rolling, 208-km stage from Reggio Calabria to Tropea in 5:09:32. Robbie McEwen (Davitamon) outsprinted Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) for second.
The stage was ridden in warm, sunny conditions. Leonardo Scarselli (Selle Italia) took an early flyer, and Thorwald Veneberg (Rabobank), Stefano Zanini (Quick Step), and Sven Krauss (Gerolsteiner) bridged up to him at 32 km. The quartet forged a 10-minute lead by 51 km.
The peloton began to chase. The escapees? advantage was down to 8:00 at 92 km. At 104 km, with Cofidis and Fassa Bortolo leading the pursuit, 6:30 separated the bunch from the break.
With 60 km left, Cofidis drove the field. Ahead, Veneberg dropped his companions. The Dutchman led Scarselli by 0:30 and the bunch, which had caught Krauss and Zanini, by 2:24. With 21 km left, Veneberg led the field by 1:45. Fassa Bortolo, Davitamon, Quick Step, and Lampre led the pursuit.
With 17 km remaining, the bunch caught Veneberg. Five km later, Walter Beneteau (Bouygues Telecom) attacked, but he was reeled in quickly. Quick Step, Fassa Bortolo, T-Mobile, Davitamon, CSC, and Liquigas battled for position at the front. Going into the last km, Fassa Bortolo led the field, but Bettini attacked on a 15-percent climb and led by 0:05 with 400 m left.
Bettini leads McEwen by 0:12 and Petacchi by 0:14. Stage 2 seems to favor the latter two riders. The 182-km run from Catanzaro Lido to Santa Maria Del Cedro is pancake flat, which promises a bunch sprint. Who will take it? Petacchi? McEwen? Erik Zabel (T-Mobile)? Check in at Roadcycling.com and find out!