Petacchi Wins Stage 15 of Giro
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won his third stage of the 2005 Giro d?Italia. Petacchi took a bunch sprint from Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) and Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) to win the rain-shortened, 154-km stage from Villa di Tirano to Lissone in 3:32:41. Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) remains the maglia rosa.
Originally, the stage was supposed to be 210 km long, and it was supposed to start with the the Forcola di Livigno. Because of the rain, however, the race organizers decided to move the start 50 km down the road to Villa di Tirano. Moreover, two laps of the finishing circuit in Lissone would be neutralized, and all riders who got to the start of the circuit in the peloton would receive the same time. These measures were taken for safety?s sake.
After 12 km, Roy Sentjens (Rabobank) sallied off of the front. Fassa Bortolo kept him on a short leash and pegged his lead at 2:50. Gradually, the lead came down to 1:00 with 50 km left.
Five km later, Rafaele Illiano (Selle Italia) bridged up to Sentjens. Eventually, Sentjens dropped back to the peloton, but Illiano set out on his own. Fassa Bortolo, Lampre, and Discovery Channel led the chase, and Illiano was reeled in with 14 km remaining. Discovery Channel led the field onto the finishing circuits.
With about six km left, Matt Wilson (La Francaise des Jeux) attacked, but he punctured and was reeled in. Lilian Jegou, Wilson?s teammate, also had a short-lived go. Then, Fassa Bortolo assumed command. Bettini and Zabel battled for position behind Petacchi.
With about 300 m left, Petacchi lunged into the lead. Zabel and Bettini never had a chance. Petacchi won by a bike length.
In the overall, Savoldelli leads Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) by 0:25 and Gilberto Simoni (Lampre) by 1:48. Stage 16 will not change this state of affairs. The 210-km run from Lissone to Varazze will feature one major climb, the Bric Berton at 176 km. Look for a group of riders to liven up the stage with an attack. Will they stay away? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!