Petacchi Wins Stage 7 of Giro
Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) has won his second stage of this year?s Giro. Petacchi won a bunch sprint to take the flat, 254-km run from Spoleto to Scarperia, the longest stage in this year?s Giro, in 6:14:44. Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) finished second, and Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) finished third. Marco Pinotti (T-Mobile) remains the maglia
The riders wasted little time getting going in the warm, sunny, windy conditions. At nine km, Elio Aggiano attacked and was joined by Rubens Bertogliati (Saunier Duval), Benat Albizuri (Euskaltel), and Fabien Patonchon (Francaise des Jeux). The quartet forged an 11-minute lead by 121 km.
Milram and Predictor began to chase. At the summit of the Valico Croci e Mori (191 km), the break?s lead was down to 1:00. Bettini ordered his Quick Steppers to force the pace to drop some of the sprinters. The bunch reeled in the break with 39 km left, and the world champion had his men back off with 10 km left.
In the final kilometers, Mathew White (Discovery Channel), Salvatore Commesso (Tinkoff), and Fabian Cancellara (CSC) attempted escapes, but Milram was having none of it. With 200 m remaining, Petacchi came around leadout man Brett Lancaster. Bettini attempted to pass Petacchi, but he failed and Hushovd pipped him for second.
In the overall, Pinotti leads Hubert Schwab (Quick Step) by 3:30 and Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) by 4:12. Stage 8 will be a 200-km ride from Barberino Di Mugello to Florano Modenese. The first half of the stage will be hilly enough to inspire a breakaway, but the remainder will be a downhill run to the finish. Will the break stay away, or will the sprinters? teams ride them down and set up a battle between Petacchi, Robbie McEwen (Predictor), and Hushovd? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!