Petacchi Wins Stage 6 of Giro
Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) has won his third stage of this year's Giro. Petacchi dusted Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner) and Alejandro Borrajo (Panaria) in another crash-marred bunch sprint to take the rolling, 164-km run from Spoleto to Valmontone in 4:00:55. Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) remains the maglia rosa.
The early pace was modest because the field climbed the Valico della Somma at the start. The attacks began on the descent, however. Fortunato Baliani (Panaria) followed a 22-man escape with a counterattack that gave him a five-minute lead. Rain, a front wheel puncture, and the pursuit of Fassa Bortolo, Lotto, and Saeco marked the end of Baliani's escape.
The sprinters' teams, particularly Fassa Bortolo, took over and guided the field to the finish. World champion Igor Astarloa (Lampre) attempted to steal a march on the sprinters with a solo move at the one-km kite, but Fassa Bortolo was having none of it. Petacchi powered home well clear of Pollack and Albert, while behind, Andrus Aug (Domina Vacanze), Mario Cipollini's leadout man, crashed into teammate Andris Nauduzs and suffered a broken left elbow, a broken left finger, and a broken bone in his spinal column. Domina Vacanze has had as many crashes as it can stand in this year's Giro.
In the overall, Simoni leads teammate Damiano Cunego by 0:13 and Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet) by 0:21. Stage 7 could produce a shakeup in the standings. The mountainous, 214-km ride from Frosinone to Montevirgine Di Mercogliano will end with a mountaintop finish? Who will prevail? Simoni? Cunego? Popovych? Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola)? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!
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