Petacchi Wins Stage 2 of Vuelta
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won Stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana.
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won Stage 2 of the Vuelta a Espana. Petacchi took a bunch sprint from Erik Zabel (T-Mobile) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) to win the flat, 207-km run from Leon to Burgos in 5:02:05. Max van Heeswijk (U.S. Postal Service) has taken the overall lead from teammate Floyd Landis.
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The early pace was pedestrian. During the first two hours, the bunch stayed together and averaged 34 km/h. During the second half of the stage, however, the pace began to pick up. Marcos Serrano (Caf? Baque) and Bram Tankink (Quick Step) attacked, and although Julien Laidoun (Ag2r) eventually replaced Serrano, the break forged a seven-minute lead over the bunch.
Crosswinds began to kick up, and echelons formed. Initially, Joseba Beloki (Saunier Duval) was in the second echelon while his teammates were in the first. The Basque rider led his echelon?s chase, however, and joined the first group.
Late in the stage, Liberty Seguros went to the left gutter and accelerated. Fassa Bortolo joined the Spanish squad, but the field split into three echelons. Juan Antonio Pecharroman (Quick Step) missed the move and lost 1:14. He is three and a half minutes behind van Heeswijk.
Fassa Bortolo led the field into the sprint. Petacchi attacked with Zabel on his wheel. The Italian held off the German for the win.
In the overall, van Heeswijk leads teammates Benoit Joachim and Landis by 0:02 and 0:06, respectively. Stage 3 might change this state of affairs. The hilly, 157.1-km stage from Burgos to Soria might allow a small group or an individual to make a bid for victory. Who will win? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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