March 14, 2005
Petacchi takes Tirreno-Adriatico stage, Freire maintains lead
Alessandro Petacchi isn't giving up without a fight at Tirreno-Adriatico. His Fassa Bortolo team did its thing, pulling off rider by rider, then letting Petacchi dance to the line.
Mario Cipollini tried to jump off Petacchi's wheel, while overall leader Oscar Freire looked to outsprint Petacchi on the opposite side of the road. It was not to be, as Petacchi took his 11th victory of the young season, and 2nd of the race.
"Contrary to the first day, this was a much harder sprint," he told Italian television. "It was punctuated by a number of irregularities. Freire launched the proceedings, but he's more at ease in slightly uphill finishes and I came back strongly."
Freire then tapped Petacchi on the arm on a gesture of goodwill between the two hot favourites for Saturday's Milan-San Remo.
Freire was 2nd on the day, Robbie McEwen 3rd, with Cipollini easing off to 7th and Baden Cooke 8th.
With the time bonus, Petacchi moves to within 19 seconds of Freire, with only Tuesday's stage remaining.