July 15, 2011
Stage 13 as it happens
Stage 13 started fast, with five or six atttempts to make a breakaway all being chased down and the field averaging around 50 km/hr or 31 mph.
The high pace put Andreas Klöden in trouble off the back of the peloton. Klöden is still suffering from injuries to his lower back suffered in a crash in Stage 9, and with about 40k ridden, Klöden abandoned the Tour, barely able to climb off his bike, or to stand up once he was helped off. His abandon leaves just 5 Radio Shack riders in the Tour.
Also put in trouble early was Rabobank's Lars Boom who trailed the field by more than 3:00 on the first climb of the day, the 3rd Category Côte de Cuqueron. Yesterday's 2nd-place finisher, Jelle Vanendert, led the peloton over the climb, with occasional attacks still trying and failing to get clear of the field.
3rd Category Côte de Cuqueron:
1) Jelle Vanendert, Omega Pharma-Lotto, +2 pts
2) Niki Terpstra, Quick Step, +1 pt
With more than 50k ridden, a breakaway group was finally successful, and had more than 1:00 in hand after 60k. In the group were Thor Hushovd, Jerome Pineau, Martin Tjallingi, Dmitri Fofonov, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Alessandro Petacchi, Lars Bak, Vladimir Gusev, David Moncoutie, and Jeremy Roy. With these 10 away, the pace in the field finally dropped a bit, and the gap quickly pushed out toward 2:00.
Lars Boom and Vladimir Isaichev, both gapped way before the Tourmalet, abandoned the race on the road.
4th Category Côte de Belair:
1) Jeremy Roy, FDJ, +1 pt
Gap went out beyond 4:00 as the field worked the climb.
For the intermediate sprint, Hushovd and Petacchi were expected to go for max green jersey points, but the group pretty much just pacelined through the sprint line. In the field, Philippe Gilbert launched an attack from way too far to the line, then was easily swamped by Rojas and Cavendish and their teammates. At the line, Rojas nipped Cavendish, who gestured angrily, but didn't appear to be impeded in any way.
1) Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky, +20 pts
2) David Moncoutie, Cofidis, +17 pts
3) Vladimir Gusev, Katusha, +15 pts
4) Dmitri Fofonov, Astana +13 pts
5) Alessandro Petacchi, Lampre, +11 pts
6) Martin Tjallingi, Rabobank, +10 pts
7) Thor Hushovd, Garmin-Cervelo, +9 pts
8) Jeremy Roy, FDJ, +8 pts
9) Lars Bak, HTC-Highroad, +7 pts
10) Jerome Pineau, Quick Step, +6 pts
11) José Rojas, Movistar, +5 pts
12) Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad, +4 pts
13) Francisco Ventoso, Movistar, +3 pts
14) Mickaël Delage, FDJ, +2 pts
15) Mark Renshaw, HTC-Highroad, +1 pt
Soon after the leading 10 hit the Col d'Aubisque, the group was shredded by an attack by World Champion Thor Hushovd. Hushovd may have had visions of his 2009 Stage 17 spent in a long solo break, but he was quickly joined by Jeremy Roy of FDJ, with David Moncoutie and Edvald Boasson Hagen close behind, and the other break survivors fading away. Hushovd's lead on the field stretched out over 6:30, while Delage, Mollema and Gadret counterattacked off the front of the field.
With a little more than 50k to race, gravity returned to normal, and Roy, then Moncoutie were able to come around Hushovd. Edvald Boasson Hagen initially had followed Moncoutie, but never made the bridge to Hushovd.
Atop the Aubisque, Roy held his lead of about :50 on Moncoutie, and coupled with his points from the Tourmalet yesterday, Roy will take the King of the Mountains jersey if he finishes the stage.
HC Col d'Aubisque:
1) Jeremy Roy, FDJ, +20 pts
2) David Moncoutie, Cofidis, +16 pts
3) Thor Hushovd, Garmin-Cervelo, +12 pts
4) Vladimir Gusev, Katusha, +8 pts
5) Jerome Pineau, Quick Step, +4 pts
6) Lars Bak, HTC-Highroad, +2 pts
Moncoutie began the descent :50 down on Roy, with Hushovd chasing more than a minute behind Moncoutie. Hushovd reeled in Moncoutie on the descent. On the uncategorized climb of the Soulor, Roy saw his lead on the pair at 1:27, but over the last 25 kilometers of the stage, Hushovd did most of the work to close on Roy. At 20k, the gap was 1:10, but over the next 4 km, Hushovd cut that lead in half. In the next 4 km, he cut it in half again, leaving Roy a bare :20 in front with 12 km to the line.
Roy fought valiantly, but the Norwegian world champion chipped away at his lead, until inside of 3 kilometers to the finish, Hushovd used a small hill to thunder away from Moncoutie, catching and riding straight past Roy. Hushovd rode alone to the finish for his 8th career stage win. Moncoutie also passed a dejected Roy to take 2nd on the stage.
July 25, 2007
Petacchi cleared of Salbutamol charge, but...
Milram's supersprinter Alessandro Petacchi was cleared yesterday by the Italian Cycling Federation after testing well above the threshold value for the asthma medication salbutamol at the Giro d'Italia.
Petacchi is one of many cyclists who carry “therapeutic use exemptions,” documents provided by doctors that allow them to use substances that are generally off-limits to treat specific ailments.
The Italian Olympic Committee recommended a 12-month suspension, but the disciplinary committee of the national federation said Petacchi could return to racing immediately.
Cyclingnews reports Petacchi might not want to book any race travel just yet, as the UCI may begin an appeal “within days.”
"The UCI will ask for the file and we will then study it once we receive it," said UCI chief Pat McQuaid."We don't know all the details of the Italian federation's decision, but we will be making a request for the file in the next 24 hours."
"It is a possibilty that we appeal," he added.
July 04, 2007
CONI recommends year ban for Petacchi, out of Tour
The Italian Olympic committee recommends a 1-year ban on super sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, after Petacchi tested high for the asthma medication salbutamol in May.
Petacchi, who won 5 stages of this year's Giro d'Italia, holds a “therapeutic use exemption,” or TUE, for the otherwise banned substance. With a TUE, he is presumed innocent with salbutamol levels of up to 1,000 nanograms/millileter, but one test reported a level of 1,320 nanograms/millileter. Petacchi pled his case with an official of CONI, the Italian Olympic committee, on Monday.
Petacchi is the leader of the Milram Tour team, which is largely built around delivering him to the front of the pack with 200 meters to the finish line of the race's flat stages.
In light of the recommendation, Milram removed Petacchi from its provisional Tour roster, replacing him with Andrey Grivko of Ukraine.
June 29, 2007
Milram names Petacchi to Tour squad despite hearing
Alessandro Petacchi, suspended and facing a hearing next week on a high salbutamol reading registered during the Giro d'Italia, nevertheless highlights the Team Milram 2007 Tour roster.
Six-time green jersey winner Erik Zabel, who recently confessed to using EPO to train for the Tour while riding for Telekom in 1996, is also on the squad, which will likely focus on sprint wins by the pair.
- Milram 2007 Tour de France roster:
- Alessandro Cortinovis (Italy)
- Ralf Grabsch (Germany)
- Christian Knees (Germany)
- Brett Lancaster (Australia)
- Alberto Ongarato (Italy)
- Alessandro Petacchi (Italy)
- Enrico Poitschke (Germany)
- Marcel Sieberg (Germany)
- Erik Zabel (Germany)
- Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) replaced Petacchi 7/4/07
Update: Andriy Grivko will replace Petacchi after a CONI official recommended a 1-year suspension for his salbutamol positive.
June 28, 2007
Mazzoleni, Di Luca, Petacchi called before CONI
Two separate doping investigations by the Italian Olympic Committee will bring Alessandro Petacchi, Danilo Di Luca, and Eddy Mazzoleni before investigators next week.
Petacchi hopes to present his therapeutic use exemption for the asthma medication salbutamol and be cleared to race in the Tour de France, after one of his 5 doping tests from the Giro d'Italia came back with a salbutamol level of 1320 nanograms/milliliter. His other Giro tests were all below the trigger value of 1,000 nanograms/mL.
Petacchi is suspended from competition until the committee reaches a decision, which puts him out of the Italian nationals and threatens his spot in the Tour.
Di Luca and Mazzoleni will appear before the same investigator as Petacchi, Ettore Torri, as part of a hearing on what's been called the “Oil for Drugs” case, resulting from raids conducted during the 2004 (!) Giro d'Italia. Di Luca has already ruled out a Tour ride, after winning the Giro, but Mazzoleni, 3rd in this year's Giro,
may be is suspended during the investigation, which would will keep him off the Astana squad. The case apparently took its name from evidence that some ridres may have been trading massage oil for performance enhancers.
June 27, 2007
Petacchi hearing will decide Tour fate
Team Milram's Alessandro Petacchi, one of the sport's outstanding sprinters, faces a hearing to explain his high reading for salbutamol during the Giro d'Italia last month. The UCI notified Italian officials yesterday that Petacchi is officially “non-negative” after registering a salbutamol level of 1,320 nanograms/millileter after his Stage 11 Giro win in Pinerolo.
Salbutamol is a common asthma medication that can have stimulant and anabolic effects at high doses. Many endurance athletes, including Petacchi, have therapeutic use exemptions allowing them to use inhaled salbutamol to address exercise-induced asthma. The World Anti-Doping Agency tries to control salbutamol levels by setting a limit of 1000 nanograms/milliliter in rider urine samples. A higher level is an “adverse analytical finding,” which shifts the burden of proof onto the athlete, who must prove the finding resulted from use of a salbutamol inhaler.
Petacchi has asked for an immediate hearing before CONI, the Italian Olympic committee, so he may clear his name before the Tour. He told La Gazzetta dello Sport:
“Why would I have done something different from other times? I have the responsibility of the team on my shoulders, with the sponsors that are always speaking against doping.
“Yes, I may have done one spray more, but I have done nothing illegal. I do not want to lose the Tour.”
Petacchi has won 4 Tour stages in his career, all in 2003. He was dominant in this year's Giro, winning 5 stages. He has been left off the start list for this weekend's Italian national championship.
June 26, 2007
If it's June, we must be awaiting the other shoe
Just like last year, cycling fans sit less than two weeks before the Tour, with doubts about many of the sport's biggest names.
Alessandro Petacchi and Leonardo Piepoli are still waiting on results from “B” samples taken during the Giro. One or more of the 2007-dominating Astana team has tested non-negative in out of competition tests while training in plain jerseys, leading the UCI to refer to them as “men in black.” “B” samples to come.
Meanwhile, four Giro racers will face interviews from Italian officials over suspiciously low levels of hormones. Giro champion Danilo Di Luca, Eddy Mazzoleni, Riccardo Ricco, and Gilberto Simoni all showed hormone levels that resembled preadolescents, which might result from the use of masking agents intended to hide doping.
The UCI is pushing a new Rider's Pledge as a stick to force riders to provide DNA samples. Back in April, I said “Six riders reportedly refused to join in [by providing DNA samples], but should suffer no consequences. For now, at least.” The Pledge is the UCI introducing consequences.
Posted by Frank Steele on June 26, 2007 in Alessandro Petacchi, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andreas Klöden, Andrey Kashechkin, Danilo Di Luca, Doping, Gilberto Simoni, Riccardo Ricco | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
June 14, 2007
Petacchi, Piepoli, Mayo "non-negative" at Giro
Giro organizers reported earlier this week that 2 Italians and a Spaniard had “non-negative” dope tests at the Italian grand tour last month. Today, Gazzetta dello Sport reports the riders are Alessandro Petacchi, Leonardo Piepoli, and Iban Mayo.
All three won stages, with Petacchi winning 5. Milram's Petacchi and Saunier Duval's Piepoli reportedly tested above the allowed threshold for asthma medication salbutamol, while Mayo, also riding for Saunier Duval, reportedly tested above the limit for testosterone.
Petacchi and Piepoli both carry medical clearances to use salbutamol, and Mayo reportedly has a high natural testosterone level. Officials must consider possible clearances and exemptions, and the rider's “B” sample, before calling the test results a positive and beginning any possible disciplinary measures.
Update: VeloNews offers a translation of Piepoli's comments:
"It's true that I take Salbutamol to treat my allergy.
"Mauro (Gianetti) asked me how much I had taken. But I don't know how many puffs I took. I take it each time I need it. It depends on the seasons."
Update 2: Mayo has been cleared: The UCI says an IRMS test ruled out “any possibility of testosterone administration.”
If the reports are true, they bring to mind the case of Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano. He showed a high salbutamol level in the 2002 Tour, but wasn't punished. CyclingForums.com had a good discussion of the threshold values for salbutamol in 2003. In the Gonzalez de Galdeano case, the UCI ruled that they had no upper limit on salbutamol concentration, while representatives of the (then-new) World Anti-Doping Agency maintained that 1000 nanograms/milliliter was the maximum permissible level. Petacchi reportedly showed salbutamol levels of 1200 and 1400 nanograms per milliliter.
May 07, 2007
Giro 2007 rosters announced
Giro organizers unveiled rosters for the 2007 Giro d'Italia today.
Four former winners of the race -- Astana's Paolo Savoldelli, Saunier Duval's Gilberto Simoni, Lampre's Damiano Cunego, and Acqua & Sapone's Stefano Garzelli -- will feature in this year's edition, but a lot of media attention will be on the missing defending champion, Ivan Basso, who admitted today he was a client of Eufemiano Fuentes.
The shadow of Operación Puerto appears to have fallen on Tyler Hamilton of Tinkoff Credit Systems and Jorg Jaksche of Astana, as well. Neither is on their team's race roster, despite claims by Tinkoff that Hamilton is clear to race.
There are some other interesting plot points that actually involve racing: Robbie McEwen and Alessandro Petacchi are set to renew their rivalry, possibly challenged by a couple of transplants from US racing: Argentina's Juan José Haedo of CSC and New Zealand's Greg Henderson of T-Mobile. Paolo Bettini wears number 1 in Basso's absence. Danilo Di Luca continues to try to evolve into a Grand Tour contender.
Three US riders are set to make the start: Discovery Channel's George Hincapie, Saunier Duval's Aaron Olson, and CSC's Dave Zabriskie.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2007 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2007, Giro d’Italia, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
November 09, 2006
Petacchi back on pedals
Italy's finest sprinter is back in training, and looking forward to 2007.
Alessandro Petacchi, who missed the 2006 Tour while recovering from a knee injury sustained in the Giro d'Italia, then broke his hand during the Vuelta a España when he punched the team bus.
Where many riders might consider that sequence and decide to stay away from the Grand Tours for a while, Petacchi says his 2007 goal is stage wins in each GT (a feat he accomplished in 2003) and a repeat of his 2005 win at Milan-San Remo.
September 11, 2006
Petacchi out with self-inflicted injury
So the Gentleman Sprinter wasn't too happy with how the sprint worked out in Sunday's stage at the Vuelta. Gerolsteiner's Robert Förster took the sprint, head of Stuart O'Grady, Danilo Napolitano, and Thor Hushovd. Milram's Alessandro Petacchi found himself boxed out by a late left-hander and didn't factor. After leaving the Giro early with a knee injury and missing the entire Tour de France, it was just too much to take.
Frustrated, Petacchi took a punch at the team bus. Unsurprisingly, the bus won. As a result, Petacchi is out of the Vuelta, and will miss the world championships in Salzburg in 2 weeks.
"I was very angry," explained Petacchi. "After being injured so many months, I had the concrete possibility to finally return to success. I wanted to give my season a sense at all cost, after I had to abandon the Giro d'Italia early because of my accident.
"In any case, I admit it was a stupid gesture. I'm sorry and I ask my teammates and the team management to forgive me. But the anger was so intense that I couldn't control myself. I condemn my gesture very severely, but I am just a man, not a machine, and sometimes men make mistakes. Today I made a mistake, no doubt."
Petacchi joins a number of (typically headcase) athletes who have missed action for outburst-related injuries, including the NBA's Latrell Sprewell in 2002. Might even break into this baseball-only version of the stupidest sports injuries ever, alongside Jason Isringhausen, who similarly broke his hand in a frustrated punch.
August 26, 2006
It's Vuelta time
It's time to kick off the year's 3rd grand tour, and it feels more like the 15th round of a prizefight.
Even though all riders passed their pre-Vuelta blood screens, one rider will miss the start over doping concerns. Saunier Duval-Prodir has dropped their Vuelta leader Koldo Gil on a belief that he's implicated in Operación Puerto. It apparently results from his days with Manolo Saiz and Liberty Seguros, but Saunier Duval's Joxean Fernandez told AS (in Spanish) “we don't want to take any risks over a potential problem that has nothing to do with us.” Gil rode strongly at the Tour of Switzerland, coming second to Jan Ullrich.
Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, back from a broken collarbone at the Tour de France, is the race favorite, with Tour winner-in-waiting Oscar Pereiro as his superdomestique.
CSC's Carlos Sastre has never met a grand tour he didn't like, as he takes the start of his 5th consecutive GT, last missing the 2005 Giro.
Conversely, Alexandre Vinokourov wasn't allowed to start the Tour in July, but Astana (who has signed to use BMC's funky Swiss carbon-fiber frames now that Phonak is leaving the sport) will have a full squad backing Vinokourov in the Vuelta, while wrangling continues over the future of the team's ProTour license and management.
Best hope for the United States is Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel, riding his first GT as the undisputed team leader. Danielson, 28, talked with Andrew Hood of VeloNews about his Vuelta hopes.
Milram's Alessandro Petacchi is back to racing, but poormouthing his Vuelta chances, tapping teammate Erik Zabel for the sprinter's jersey. Robbie McEwen looks to join Petacchi as the 4th rider to win multiple stages of all 3 GTs in a single year -- Petacchi in 2003 as well as Miguel Poblet in 1956 and Pierino Baffi in 1958 are the others.
Reigning Vuelta champ Denis Menchov, who won the race when Roberto Heras tested positive for EPO and was stripped of the title, says the Vuelta was his “secondary objective” behind the Tour, and he doesn't “feel as sharp and this affects you physically as well.” Menchov's Rabobank squad won't be distracted trying to set Oscar Freire up for wins, as Freire pulled out earlier this week, citing a neck injury.
The TV coverage is debuting a “seatpost camera,” that will mimic the rear-facing cameras used in NASCAR, and rotate among riders daily. Also new will be in-car cameras for interviews with team directors. On the other hand, the Vuelta will dispense with publishing heart rate monitor data, since most teams wouldn't allow their key riders' data to be published. In the US, to see the coverage, you'll have to subscribe to Cycling.TV's web streaming feed.
Posted by Frank Steele on August 26, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Alexandre Vinokourov, Carlos Sastre, Denis Menchov, Erik Zabel, Oscar Freire, Robbie McEwen, Tom Danielson, Top Stories, Vuelta a España 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 04, 2006
Petacchi resumes training
Team Milram's supersprinter Alessandro Petacchi is back in the saddle. Petacchi fractured his kneecap during Stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia in May.
Petacchi also missed last year's Tour, in preparation for the world championships, won by Tom Boonen. Petacchi is expected to ride tomorrow, but has no projected date to return to racing.
May 09, 2006
Petacchi confirms: won't start '06 Tour
Team Milram's Alessandro Petacchi won't start the Tour de France, as he faces surgery for a fractured kneecap.
Petacchi injured his knee yesterday in a fall during Stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia.
"Even If I recover from surgery, I will never have time to get fit," Petacchi told French sports daily L'Equipe on Tuesday of his prospects of lining up for the first stage of the Tour de France on July 1.
May 08, 2006
Schumacher takes classics-style Giro stage, Petacchi out
Schumacher wisely marked QuickStep's Paolo Bettini, who dropped the field to try to reel in Discovery Channel's Jose-Luis Rubiera, but couldn't close the gap. At about 800 meters to ride, Schumacher squashed the Cricket, kung-fued Chechu, and took the biggest win of his career. Chechu was 2 seconds back for 2nd, and Schumacher's Gerolsteiner teammate Davide Rebellin led in the field 6 seconds back.
Factoring in his margin of victory over Paolo Savoldelli, and the 20-second stage win bonus, Schumacher finds himself in the race leader's jersey, 13 seconds ahead of Savoldelli, 23 seconds ahead of Davide Rebellin.
Despite losing the race lead, Paolo Savoldelli gained time on most of his overall GC rivals, and now leads Sergei Honchar by 18 seconds, Danilo Di Luca by :23, Ivan Basso by :28, Damiano Cunego by :30, and Gilberto Simoni by :49.
Team Milram sprint superstar Alessandro Petacchi got tangled up in a late race pileup, needed medical attention, and came in 14:38 back. After the race, he abandoned, with a fractured kneecap. He's returning to Italy for surgery, and may not be able to start the Tour. Petacchi has 19 stage wins in the last 3 Giros.
Tomorrow's the Giro's last day in Belgium, with a rest day Wednesday and the team time trial from Piacenza to Cremona on Thursday.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 8, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Sergei Honchar, Stefan Schumacher, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)
Giro Stage 2 photo galleries
Aaron Olson w/Simoni, Missaglia, McEwen outfoxes Petacchi
Savoldelli, McEwen (click through to CyclingNews.com)
May 07, 2006
McEwen rides Milram train to Giro Stage 2 win
Team Milram's Alessandro Petacchi had made no secret of his desire to take today's Giro d'Italia Stage 2, from Mons to Charleroi.
As the peloton approached the finish line, his Milram team executed the plan to perfection, as his teammates slowly fell off, keeping the pace high enough to discourage opportunistic attacks, and launching Petacchi with 200 meters to go.
But today, the sun didn't rise in the East, the roadrunner didn't escape, and Petacchi couldn't finish out the sprint. Instead, Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, following Petacchi's wheel, was able to come around and take the first road victory of the 2006 Giro.
T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack (who took the sprinters' points jersey at the Tour of California) was 2nd, Paolo Bettini of QuickStep was 3rd, and Petacchi was 4th. Leonardo "L." Duque of Cofidis rounds out the top 5.
Maybe there's still some life in the old-timers: McEwen is 33, Pollack, Bettini, and Petacchi are 32.
With the sprint finish, there was no significant change in the overall, where Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli (celebrating his 33rd birthday) still leads Française des Jeux's Bradley McGee by 11 seconds, and José Enrique Gutierrez by 13 seconds.
1) Robbie Mcewen, Davitamon-Lotto, in 4:51:40
2) Olaf Pollack, T-Mobile, same time
3) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, s.t.
4) Alessandro Petacchi, Team Milram, s.t.
5) Leonardo Duque, Cofidis, s.t.
6) Tomas Vaitkus, AG2R Prevoyance, s.t.
7) Alberto Loddo, Selle Italia, s.t.
8) Koldo Fernandez, Euskaltel-Euskadi, s.t.
9) Axel Maximiliano, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, s.t.
10) Graeme Brown, Rabobank, s.t.
As it happened tickers:
Posted by Frank Steele on May 7, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Bradley McGee, Giro d'Italia 2006, Giro d’Italia, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, Paolo Bettini, Paolo Savoldelli, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
March 20, 2006
Milan-San Remo wrapup
The peloton made contact with the six leaders, who were fighting every inch of the way, so instead of the typically engulfing end to the break, the break members stayed out at the tip of the spear. As Milram tried to set up its finishing sprint, coming around the break remnants, Igor Astarloa (the OLN commentators thought it was Rinaldo Nocentini of Acqua e Sapone) just put the hammer down. Pozzato not only caught him, but came around him, charging super hard, and the gap held up. Astarloa wound up 11th.
If you watched the TV coverage, VeloNews fingers Ivan Gutierrez as the Caisse d'Espargne rider trying to wave off the motorcycles -- he thought they were hovering a little too close to Petacchi's chasers, giving the peloton a bit of a draft.
Petacchi was all class in defeat:
"I was in top form, but I didn't have the luck today," Petacchi said. "You need to have the luck to win Milan-San Remo. Our team rode great today and I wanted to pay back their efforts with a victory. But my compliments go to Pozzato. Quick Step worked the tactics perfectly with Pozzato on the wheel and they left the chase up to us."
1) Filippo Pozzato, Quick Step, in 6:29:41
2) Alessandro Petacchi (I), Milram, same time
3) Luca Paolini (I), Liquigas, s.t.
4) Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, s.t.
5) Danilo Napolitano (I), Lampre, s.t.
6) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, s.t.
7) Stefano Garzelli, Liquigas, s.t.
8) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, s.t.
9) Martin Elmiger, Phonak, s.t.
10) Matteo Carrara, Lampre, s.t.
Posted by Frank Steele on March 20, 2006 in Alessandro Petacchi, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Igor Astarloa, Milan-San Remo 2006, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)
March 18, 2006
Filippo Pozzato denies the sprinters at Milan-San Remo
Everybody had their eye on Quick Step at Milan-San Remo, with current and former world champions Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini.
But with Bettini still hurting from a crash at Tirreno-Adriatico, and Boonen drawing more attention than that Specialized angel at the Tour of California, Quick Step found another way to get the job done.
Filippo Pozzato covered every late break, then attacked in the last kilometer to take the year's first classic.
It's another sign of the changing of the guard in cycling -- Pozzato is 24. He won Stage 7 of the 2004 Tour in a late-stage escape.
Your other heavy pre-race favorite, Pozzato's former teammate Alessandro Petacchi, takes 2nd. Luca Paolini of Liquigas was 3rd, with Boonen 4th.
March 17, 2006
Milan-San Remo previews
Milram's Alessandro Petacchi says he's (duh!) the team's leader for Milan-San Remo tomorrow, and that he's glad to have Quick Step's Tom Boonen as the favorite in the season's first classic.
"It's no secret that Boonen wants to start the classics season with a win at Sanremo. This time, he is obligated to step up to the plate. Him and his [Quick Step] team, of course."
Boonen has said that though he does not like the race, his intention is to win the first, and longest, classic of the season.
"Last year, nobody talked about [Boonen] before the race and all the pressure was on me," Petacchi said. "This year the roles are reversed, and that doesn't bother me."
PezCycling News details the tactical considerations throughout the course, and notes that Boonen and Petacchi are even with oddsmakers at 4-1, with Thor Hushovd 9-1.
VeloNews reminds us that this race isn't always a sprinters' showdown. This year, I think it is, but I suppose we could see a repeat of 2003, with all those sprinter teams waiting for each other to put in an effort to chase down a quality break. I don't think we will, John Wilcockson doesn't think we will, and I'm sure neither Petacchi nor Boonen thinks we will. Wilcockson mentions again that organizers intend to add the Pompeiana to the route (PezCycling offers a report on the climb), between the Cipressa and Poggio, in an effort to eliminate an annual sprint finish.
March 14, 2006
Classics kick off Saturday with Milan-San Remo
With Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico out of the way, we can look forward to La Primavera, Milan-San Remo, the first classic of the year, running this Saturday in Italy.
It's the longest of the classics, at more than 180 miles and about 7 hours in the saddle. Last year, Alessandro Petacchi finally took his first win in San Remo, ahead of Danilo Hondo (and whatever became of him?) and Thor Hushovd.
In 2004, Erik Zabel timed his sprint perfectly, and looked to have his 5th Milan-San Remo locked up, only to sit up early and lose to Rabobank's Oscar Freire.
Over at the International Herald Tribune, Samuel Abt handicaps the 2006 edition of the race. The obvious favorites are Petacchi and Tom Boonen, both of whom are winning sprints seemingly at will this year. Both of them have some extra baggage, their teammates Zabel (with Petacchi at Milram) and Paolo Bettini (with Boonen at Quick Step), who won the race in 2003.
Bettini is banged up from a crash at Tirreno-Adriatico, but told Eurosport he'll definitely be racing on Saturday:
"I'm going to start the race on Saturday and then worry about getting to San Remo," he added on Tuesday ... "My back and my knee still hurts when I stand on the pedals but I'm optimistic things will improve," he said ... "Unfortunately, Milan-San Remo is the longest race of the season. I just hope my back and knee don't hold me back during the final part of the race."
Boonen toured the race finish Monday. If he could win here, he would be just the 5th man to win the race while world champion. Even so, he's my pick.
Dekker takes Tirreno-Adriatico overall
Thomas Dekker takes the overall, for the biggest victory of his career. Not Thomas Dekker the Jacobean dramatist, nor the 18-year-old TV actor (“7th Heaven”), but the 21-year-old Dutch Rabobank who was 2nd in last year's Criterium International.
Petacchi said this one was especially sweet:
"I wanted this win," Petacchi said after his 166-km stage victory on Tuesday. "I'm feeling good and this win came just at the right time for both me and the team."
"The other day (Saturday) when I lost to (Norway's Thor) Hushovd I was very angry. Today I was more determined, everything went perfectly and my team mates did a great job."
March 08, 2006
Bettini takes 1st stage at Tirreno-Adriatico
Bettini outsprinted Erik Zabel, the eternal 2nd, and Thor Hushovd on the slightly uphill finish. Zabel had the leadout services of teammate Alessandro Petacchi, who felt the finish suited Zabel better than himself:
"The only way we could win was to make Quick.Step work because we knew that Paolo (Bettini) was the man to beat. In any case, Erik rode great today. With 1km to go, he was a bit behind and came up fast. Yes, he lost, but he lost to Bettini who is the best in the world for this kind of finish. So I'm willing to do what it takes to help my teammate win."
Bettini has seemingly made a career on finishes too tough for the pure sprinters. He won the overall here in 2004:
"I'm not going to hold back. This year's route is tough. The stage five time trial and the uphill finish at San Giacomo on stage six will decide the race," Bettini said.
"Levi Leipheimer and Stefano Garzelli are the big favourites but I've thrown my hat into the ring and I'm going to give it a go."
Longtime Lance Armstrong nemesis Filippo Simeoni took a very long flyer today, jumping out with only 4 kilometers ridden, being joined soon by two other riders, dangling almost 10 minutes off the front, then being caught with less than 3 kilometers left on the stage.
March 06, 2006
Petacchi takes Tour of Lucca
Southern Europe's fastest man took the win at the Tour of Lucca today. Alessandro Petacchi led Claudio Corioni over the line, followed closely by Petacchi's new super-leadout with Italy's Milram, former T-Mobile sprinter Erik Zabel.
January 10, 2006
Petacchi in for Giro and Tour
At the Milram team presentation in Bremen Tuesday, Alessandro Petacchi said he intends to ride both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 2006.
Petacchi, who has owned the Giro the last three years, winning 19 stages, had complained that the 2006 Giro route wasn't to his liking.
Petacchi has been highly critical of a Giro route that, he says, only offers him five or six potential stage-winning opportunities ... Petacchi also revealed that his first objectives this season would be “Milan-San Remo, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders”.
July 25, 2005
Di Luca still heads ProTour rankings
Lance Armstrong, who would generally take over the World Cup lead with a strong Tour showing, moves only into 2nd in the new ProTour's post-Tour rankings, trailing Danilo DiLuca by 45 points. Alexandre Vinokourov will move up when Armstrong is removed from the listings: He's third, just 3 points behind Armstrong.
1) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas, 184 pts
2) Lance Armstrong, Discovery Channel, 139 pts
3) Alexandre Vinokourov, T-Mobile, 136 pts
4) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, 120 pts
5) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 111 pts
6) Jan Ullrich, T-Mobile, 98 pts
7) Santiago Botero, Phonak, 95 pts
8) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, 94 pts
9) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, 92 pts
10) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 89 pts
Other Americans in the Top 20 are Levi Leipheimer, 15th at 80 points, and Bobby Julich, 16th at 79.
Posted by Frank Steele on July 25, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Alexandre Vinokourov, Bobby Julich, Danilo Di Luca, George Hincapie, Jan Ullrich, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Santiago Botero | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack
July 22, 2005
Petacchi to Domina Vacanze, exit stage left for Fassa Bortolo
Italian supersprinter Alessandro Petacchi signed with Domina Vacanze for 2006 today.
Petacchi's current team, Fassa Bortolo, will dissolve at season's end. Petacchi teammate Juan Antonio Flecha signed with Rabobank earlier this week.
Petacchi committed for three years. Rumors had him insisting that several teammates come with him -- keep your eyes peeled for more announcements.
Update: BBC Sport reports:
Fabio Sacchi, Marco Velo and Alberto Ongarato are expected to move with him.
Velo, of course, has the greatest possible cycling name.
Petacchi's predecessor as king of the Italian sprinters was Mario Cipollini, who finished his career with Domina Vacanze.
Update: Marcello points out that Cipollini took some starts for Liquigas-Bianchi, including a final win over Petacchi this spring, but I have trouble giving them credit for being his last team when he quit at the end of April.
July 03, 2005
Silver Train to roll no more?
Team manager Giancarlo Ferretti is seeking a new sponsor to take over for the team's title sponsor, an Italian concrete company. He thought he had a deal lined up in the offseason with French bank Caisse d'Espargne, but they became secondary sponsors for Illes Balears a few weeks later. Panasonic, Philips, and Orange have all reportedly refused to step into the breach.
“We have given ourselves one more week before we make a decision. After that, the riders are free to go where they want,” Ferretti said yesterday.
Some rumors about who may go where: Juan Antonio Flecha to Rabobank and Kim Kirchen to Liquigas. The big prize, of course, would be Alessandro Petacchi, who is rumored to have had discussions with Discovery, T-Mobile, Phonak, and Domina Vacanze.
May 30, 2005
Di Luca holds ProTour lead
Danilo Di Luca continued to lead the inaugural UCI ProTour competition, ahead of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi.
Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli leapfrogged into 5th overall with his Giro d'Italia win, while Bobby Julich and George Hincapie, still deadlocked at 75 points, are now tied for 8th in the standings.
Current Top 10:
1) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas-Bianchi, 184 pts
2) Tom Boonen, Quick Step, 112 pts
3) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 111 pts
4) Oscar Freire, Rabobank, 94 pts
5) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, 89 pts
6) Davide Rebellin, Gerolsteiner, 86 pts
7) Michael Boogerd, Rabobank, 80 pts
8) Bobby Julich, Team CSC, 75 pts
9) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 75 pts
10) Jens Voigt, Team CSC, 72 pts
Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Bobby Julich, Danilo Di Luca, Davide Rebellin, George Hincapie, Jens Voigt, Oscar Freire, Paolo Savoldelli, Tom Boonen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0)
Petacchi confirms he won't start Tour
Alessandro Petacchi confirmed on Sunday that he's skipping this year's Tour de France to focus on the World Championships in Madrid, on a flat, fast course that looks well-suited to Petacchi's legs. His statement confirms his season plans as originally laid out in January.
Petacchi's worlds teammate Paolo Bettini, who took the gold medal in Athens, may have something to say about that, as will Belgium's Tom Boonen (both of whom are expected to race the Tour, as well).
Petacchi has won multiple stages at the last few Tours de France, and won four stages at this year's Giro d'Italia, including yesterday's final stage into Milan.
Giro Stage 20 photo galleries
More Stage 20 photos @ GrahamWatson.com
Petacchi and Bettini from cyclingnews.com
May 23, 2005
Petacchi takes third stage; Savoldelli takes lead to rest day
Alessandro Petacchi took his third stage win of this year's Giro today, ahead of T-Mobile's Erik Zabel and Quick Step's Paolo Bettini -- certainly the best 3 sprinters left in this year's Giro.
It was Petacchi's 18th career Giro victory. As you would expect, Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli retains the overall race lead.
The day's Top 10:
1) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, 3:32:41
2) Erik Zabel, T-Mobile, same time
3) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, same time
4) Simone Cadamuro, Domina Vacanze, same time
5) Marco Velo, Fassa Bortolo, same time
6) Paride Grillo, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, same time
7) Henk Vogels, Davitamon-Lotto, same time
8) Robert Forster, Gerolsteiner, same time
9) Isaac Galvez Lopez, Illes Balears, same time
10) Sven Krauss, Gerolsteiner, same time
May 11, 2005
Start the Petacchi watch as Di Luca breaks the sprinters
Tell me the truth: Did anyone out there believe we would be waiting for Stage 4 of the Giro with no wins by Alessandro Petacchi? How about that his best result so far would be in the prologue (he was also 3rd in Stage 1, but 3 seconds back)?
Today, Danilo Di Luca and his Liquigas-Bianchi squad helped make a break with all of the GC hopefuls as the race thundered up a climb at Santa Tecla, about 10 kilometers from the finish. Petacchi found himself on the wrong side of the break, along with race leader Robbie McEwen, trailing the 50 riders in the break by about a minute.
At the line, Di Luca nipped Lampre's Damiano Cunego and Liquigas teammate Stefano Garzelli for the win. Paolo Bettini was 6th on the day, and moves back into overall race leadership, but Di Luca looms 9 seconds back, and Cunego, the defending Giro champ is 3rd at 17 seconds.
Discovery Channel's Paolo Savoldelli sits 5th overall, just 26 seconds behind Bettini, with Gilberto Simoni (Cunego's teammate/rival) 9th at 33 seconds. Ivan Basso is 14th at 36 seconds.
Di Luca has had a fantastic season, winning Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallonne, and the Tour of the Basque Country, and currently leading the ProTour competition. It was Di Luca's 3rd career win at the Giro, and first since 2001. After the stage, he said he would be gunning for race leadership Thursday.
The field of sprinters was thinned out a bit on Wednesday when Davitamon-Lotto's Tom Steels abandoned, citing stomach problems.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 11, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Damiano Cunego, Danilo Di Luca, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 09, 2005
It's going to be an interesting Giro
QuickStep's Paolo Bettini found Stage 1 of the 2005 Giro suited him perfectly.
Bettini made a move in the last kilometer of the race, where the course came to a short steep uphill. It was a trademark Bettini move, and Alessandro Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo squad wasn't able to respond in time to reel in the 2004 Olympic road race champion.
Coming up to the line, Lotto's sprint specialist Robbie McEwen showed he's back in terrific form after an early-season flu led him to skip the spring classics, as he put a second into Petacchi and took 2nd on the day. Petacchi, who took 9 stages of last year's Giro, was 3rd, followed by Baden Cooke and Manuele Mori.
The full top 10:
1) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, in 5:09:32
2) Robbie McEwen, Davitamon-Lotto, at :03
3) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, at :04
4) Baden Cooke, Francaise Des Jeux, at :04
5) Manuele Mori, Saunier Duval-Prodir, at :04
6) Erik Zabel, T-Mobile Team, at :04
7) Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas-Bianchi, at :04
8) Mirko Celestino, Domina Vacanze, at :04
9) Damiano Cunego, Lampre-Caffita, at :04
10) Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano, Davitamon-Lotto, at :04
It was Bettini's first-ever Giro win, and he'll wear the maglia rosa for the first time.
Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli finished with the leaders, and sits 4th overall, 22 seconds behind Bettini, and 3 seconds ahead of Lampre's Cunego. Ivan Basso finished at 9 seconds today.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 9, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Baden Cooke, Damiano Cunego, Erik Zabel, Giro d'Italia 2005, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
May 07, 2005
Brett Lancaster Giro's first leader
Australia's Brett Lancaster of Panaria was the fastest kilo man in the field Saturday evening, taking the prologue of the 88th Giro d'Italia.
The unusually short prologue favored riders with track experience and sprinters, and Lancaster, who took a gold medal in Athens in the team pursuit, made the most of it, covering 1.15 kilometers in 1:20.958. Of course, the shortness also means you can throw a blanket over about the top half of the field, with the top 10 all within 2 seconds of Lancaster. The last-placed rider was Australia's Trent Wilson, 17 seconds back of Lancaster.
The prologue was run under the lights, along the coast at Reggio Calabria, with prime-time TV coverage in Italy.
Discovery's Paolo Savoldelli finished highest among those with GC aspirations, in 1:21.923, fourth on the stage. Alessandro Petacchi was 3rd on the day, just behind teammate Matteo Tosatto. T-Mobile's Olaf Pollack rounded out the top 5.
Stuart O'Grady's special rig didn't get him the maglia rosa, as he had hoped, but did place him 6th on the stage and overall.
Michael Barry led North Americans in 15th; Discovery teammate Ryder Hesjedal, also of Canada, was 18th; Dave Zabriskie was 20th; Tom Danielson 75th; Tony Cruz 98th; Jason McCartney 113th; and Christian Vande Velde was 152nd.
Defending Giro champ Damiano Cunego was 22nd, while his teammate Gilberto Simoni, the 2003 winner, was 97th on the stage.
Mario Cipollini took a parade lap, starting last in a glow-in-the-dark pink skinsuit that featured the names of all the towns where he won his 42 career Giro stages.
The full top 10:
1) Brett Lancaster, Ceramica Panaria-Navigare, 1:20.9
2) Matteo Tosatto, Fassa Bortolo, at :01
3) Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, at :01
4) Paolo Savoldelli, Discovery Channel, at :01
5) Olaf Pollack, T-Mobile, at :02
6) Stuart O'Grady, Cofidis, at :02
7) Jaan Kirsipuu, Credit Agricole, at :02
8) Mark Renshaw, Francaise des Jeux, at :02
9) Sergio Escobar Roure, Illes Balears, at :02
10) Sven Krauss, Gerolsteiner, at :02
May 05, 2005
A look at Giro rosters
Time for the annual Gilberto Simoni drama-fest, as he and Cunego slug it out for the overall, and leadership of their own Lampre team, all over Italy. Time, of course, for the Giro d'Italia.
Of course, the last few Giros have also seen the emergence of Alessandro Petacchi, whose Fassa Bortolo blue train has placed him perfectly for so many sprint wins. Potentially adding to the sprint drama this year is T-Mobile's Erik Zabel, who believes that some of this year's stages will be hard enough to neutralize Petacchi, and give Zabel (and teammate Olaf Pollack) a shot at a stage win in a select group.
Over at CSC, Ivan Basso has said he's riding for the Giro-Tour double, and raring to go. CSC will be riding two Americans, Dave Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde, in Basso's support.
Discovery Channel will finally get a real look at new team member Paolo Savoldelli, who won the 2002 Giro, and has a reputation for finishing long tours strongly. Tony Cruz, Tom Danielson, Jason McCartney and Michael Barry are coming off April's Tour de Georgia.
The Daily Peloton has individual pieces on each squad, looking at who's got a shot at the overall, who will be fishing for stages, and who's just killing time.
Posted by Frank Steele on May 5, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Christian Vande Velde, Damiano Cunego, Dave Zabriskie, Erik Zabel, Gilberto Simoni, Giro d'Italia 2005, Ivan Basso, Tom Danielson | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
April 11, 2005
Boonen takes Paris-Roubaix, Hincapie second
Tom Boonen was the odds-on favorite going into Paris-Roubaix, but in a bicycle race, like a golf tournament, the favorites are never prohibitive. On a day when Tiger Woods took his fourth Masters championship, Boonen showed why they both were favored.
As with Tiger, this Paris-Roubaix went the distance, with Boonen just edging out Discovery Channel's George Hincapie and Fassa Bortolo's Juan Antonio Flecha.
Boonen, who also won the Tour of Flanders earlier this month, takes over the lead of the ProTour from Alessandro Petacchi, who has never started the Hell of the North. The 24-year-old, formerly a US Postal rider, has firmly established himself as one of the world's best one-day riders.
Sunday's big move had 2004 winner Magnus Backstedt, Boonen, Flecha and teammate Fabian Cancellara, Hincapie, and CSC's Lars Michaelsen -- everything but a big sign that said "Winning break departing now."
Cancellara flatted, then as the pace increased, Michaelsen and then TDFBlog favorite Magnus Backstedt were dropped about 16 km out. From Yahoo! Sport:
"I was on the last wheel and as we went round a corner Mickaelsen swung out and left a bit of a gap," explained Backstedt who finished fourth. "I tried to close it but just couldn't. The front three were just far too strong for me."
Boonen said he had most feared Backstedt and Michaelson in a finishing sprint over the roleurs Hincapie and Flecha. Left with Hincapie and Flecha, Boonen picked their pocket, holding third position into the Roubaix velodrome, choosing his attack, and outkicking Hincapie for the win.
Hincapie becomes the first American to make the Paris-Roubaix podium.
1) Tom Boonen (Quick-Step), 6:27:31
2) George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), same time
3. Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo), same time
4. Magnus Backstedt (Liquigas), at 1:09
5. Lars Michaelsen (Team CSC), at 2:43
6. Leon van Bon (Davitamon - Lotto), at 3:49
7. Florent Brard (Agritubel), same time
8. Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo), same time
9. Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), same time
10. Arnaud Coyot (Cofidis), same time
CSC's Andrea Tafi, who won Paris-Roubaix in 1999, made his last career start, but withdrew early, as did Peter Van Petegem, among others. Former US Postal rider Victor Hugo Peña crashed in the neutral zone, before racing even got under way, and DNF'ed.
With his early season goals achieved, Boonen said he'll concentrate on the Tour de France green jersey and the World Championships in Madrid:
“This is a dream for me,” said Boonen. “Flanders and Roubaix are the two races I’ve wanted to win the most, and I’ve now won them both. This gives me a huge amount of confidence for the rest of the season. I’m going to go on holiday now and try to find new motivation for my remaining two goals this season, which are to win the points title at the Tour de France and the Worlds.”
Fassa Bortolo's supersprinter, Alessandro Petacchi, has previously announced he won't ride the 2005 Tour, to focus on worlds, and Oscar Freire is bound to target world's, since they're in Spain, so it looks like the stage is set for a major showdown in Madrid.
"I'm satisfied, yet disappointed at the same time," said Hincapie, who couldn't counter when Boonen shot away high off the final turn in the velodrome. "This gives me even more motivation to come back here and win next year."
Why did Hincapie let it go to a sprint against Boonen?
[Discovery assistant DS Dirk] Demol added, "it wasn't possible to attack in the final 20 kms." On Boonen, he added, "every kilometer closer to the finish, we kept thinking 'how can we beat him?'"
The second place finish moved Hincapie up into fourth place in the ProTour standings.
CyclingRevealed.com offers a look at the Belgian Classics, and Johan Museeuw, who won Paris-Roubaix three times.
March 19, 2005
Petacchi takes Milan-San Remo
It's Petacchi's 13th 2005 win, following three stage wins in Tirreno-Adriatico last week. Pre-race favorite Oscar Freire apparently got boxed out of the finishing sprint.
Stuart O'Grady was 4th, and Freire finished 5th.
Discovery Channel's two best hopes in the race, Max Van Heeswijk and George Hincapie, both scratched, leaving Stijn Devolder the team leader.
Similarly, Robbie McEwen withdrew, leaving American Fred Rodriguez the Davitamon-Lotto designated sprinter.
March 15, 2005
Petacchi takes a 3rd stage, Freire the overall at Tirreno-Adriatico
Alessandro Petacchi took another stage at Tirreno-Adriatico Tuesday, his 3rd stage of the race and 12th victory of the season.
Rabobank's Oscar Freire didn't contest the sprint, and took the overall victory, after winning three consecutive stages himself. Freire becomes the 2nd leader of the UCI's new ProTour competition, bumping Paris-Nice winner Bobby Julich.
Mario Cipollini was 2nd on the day, and Gerolsteiner's Danilo Hondo, who has factored in almost every sprint in a sprinter's tour, was 3rd.
The overall top 10:
1. Oscar Freire (Rabobank), 32:37:19
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo), at 9 secs
3. Fabrizio Guidi (Phonak), at 25 secs
4. Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner), at 25 secs
5. Laurent Brochard (Bouyges Telecom), at 33 secs
6. George Hincapie (Discovery Channel), at 36 secs
7. Angel Vicioso Arcos (Liberty Seguros), at 37 secs
8. Marcus Zberg (Gerolsteiner), at 40 secs
9. Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole), at 40 secs
10. Andreas Klier (T-Mobile), at 42 secs
Attention now turns to Sunday, and La Primavera, Milan-San Remo.
Eurosport notes that Robbie McEwen went down in the last 3 kms and finished at the back of the pack.
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.
Knaven takes Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 5
In a move reminiscent of his stage win in the 2003 Tour de France, QuickStep's Servais Knaven took shelter in a daylong breakaway, then soloed late to the line to take the day.
Rabobank's Oscar Freire retains the overall race leadership, leading Alessandro Petacchi and Danilo Hondo by 23 seconds with two stages to go.
Along with Knaven, the early escape included Discovery's Pavel Padrnos, CSC's Andrea Peron, Saunier Duval's Marco Pinotti, and Credit Agricole's Christophe Le Mevel.
March 11, 2005
Freire holds lead with another sprint win at Tirreno-Adriatico
Oscar Freire hit a railing in the last kilometer, but sprinted free of the bunch to take a 2nd consecutive stage at Tirreno-Adriatico. As he was yesterday, Laurent Brochard of Bouyges Telecom was 2nd, and Gerolsteiner sprinter Danilo Hondo was third.
Discovery's George Hincapie was 6th.
Freire holds the overall lead, 10 seconds free of Alessandro Petacchi, who was 8th today.
The day's top 10:
1. Oscar Freire, Rabobank, 5:52:07
2. Laurent Brochard, Bouygues Telecom, same time
3. Danilo Hondo, Gerolsteiner, same time
4. Emanuele Sella, Ceramica Panaria, s.t.
5. Mirco Lorenzetto, Domina Vacanze, s.t.
6. George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, s.t.
7. Ruggero Marzoli, Acqua & Sapone, s.t.
8. Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo, s.t.
9. Fabian Wegemann, Gerolsteiner, s.t.
10. Fabrizio Guidi, Phonak, s.t.
March 09, 2005
Petacchi takes Stage 1 at Tirreno-Adriatico
After coming third in the Tour of Lucca last week, Alessandro Petacchi showed he's in remarkable early-season shape, beating Bernard Eisel of Francaise des Jeux and Robbie McEwen of Davitamon-Lotto for the stage win and first leader's jersey of Tirreno-Adriatico.
Mario Cipollini, who beat Petacchi at Lucca, was dropped on the last climb and reportedly "complained of breathing problems at the finish."
Also in the day's top 10 were Oscar Freire, Thor Hushovd, and Paride Grillo.
Tomorrow's stage has an uphill finish into Tivoli.
March 08, 2005
Tirreno-Adriatico set to kick off
If you're wondering where the superstars of racing are, and why they're not at Paris-Nice, it's because they're in sunny Italy, readying for the 2nd race of the ProTour, which kicks off tomorrow in Civitavecchia.
Most of the world's best sprinters are on hand, including both Mario Cipollini and Alessandro Petacchi, Stuart O'Grady, Erik Zabel, Robbie McEwen, Oscar Freire, and Paolo Bettini, last year's winner.
We'll get a look at Joseba Beloki, who's back on a Spanish squad with Liberty Seguros, T-Mobile's Andreas Klöden, CSC's Ivan Basso, and Discovery's George Hincapie.
Tirreno-Adriatico runs seven stages, and most of these riders will also contest Milan-San Remo a week from Saturday.
Posted by Frank Steele on March 8, 2005 in Alessandro Petacchi, Andreas Klöden, Erik Zabel, George Hincapie, Ivan Basso, Joseba Beloki, Mario Cipollini, Oscar Freire, Paolo Bettini, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Tirreno-Adriatico '05 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
March 07, 2005
Cipollini beats Petacchi
Cipollini, now with Liquigas-Bianchi, has retired and unretired a few times already, but he showed great early season form, staying at the front when the field split, leaving Petacchi with only one teammate, rather than the long blue express train that has dropped him at the finish line of so many stage victories over the last few years.
Petacchi has 8 wins this season, and Monday was his first loss in a heads-up sprint in 2005, as he finished behind Cipollini and Paride Grillo.
February 27, 2005
Petacchi storms to overall win at Comunidad Valencia
Fassa Bortolo's super sprinter Alessandro Petacchi is having a scorching spring, taking three of five stages at the Volta Comunidad Valencia in Spain.
"For me, with my characteristics, it is very difficult to win a small tour like this one, but I have been very fit since the beginning of the season and I knew that I could race a good tour," Petacchi said.
January 20, 2005
Petacchi to skip Tour, focus on Vuelta and World's
The world's fastest closer will skip the Tour de France this year.
Alessandro Petacchi, who won 4 stages of the 2003 Tour but faltered in 2004, will instead focus on winning the biggest one-day race in the world, the road World Championship, this year in Madrid. Petacchi will also race (but probably not finish) the Vuelta a España, which finishes one week before Worlds.
Petacchi, who set a record last year with 9 (!!!) stage wins at the Giro d'Italia, will also contest the Italian grand tour in May.
July 13, 2004
Stage 9: 160.5 km Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat to Guéret
VeloNews predicts Petacchi for this stage. I'm predicting that won't happen.
The start town, St. Léonard, is the hometown of Raymond Poulidor, the "eternal second" who was 2nd 3 times, and 3rd 5 times in 14 Tours. He NEVER WORE the yellow jersey, even for a day.
Two Category 4 climbs offer points down to 3rd place, and 3 intermediate sprints could factor in the green jersey race, which Robbie McEwen leads:
1) McEwen 158
2) O'Grady 149
3) Zabel 148
4) Hushovd 147
5) Hondo 139
With the race for green so close, I doubt the sprinters' teams will let a break stay away, so look for a field sprint to the line, and so far, it's looked like Robbie McEwen is the flat-out fastest man in the race.
Starting Stage 8, it's:
Jakob Piil is in the red race numbers. Again. This year, Tour organizers will award an overall combativity award, but not until Paris. Piil's the early nod — he's never met a crazy flyer he wouldn't take.
July 12, 2004
Petacchi may miss Athens Olympics
Alessandro Petacchi has a cracked rib and a badly bruised shoulder, suffered last Thursday on Stage 5.
Doctors estimate 30 days for complete healing, which makes Petacchi doubtful for the Olympic road race, scheduled for August 14.
July 09, 2004
Petacchi, Cipollini withdraw from Tour
Petacchi won 4 stages in 2003, and 9 stages in this year's Giro d'Italia, but hadn't figured in a finishing sprint yet this year, and hurt his shoulder in a crash during Thursday's 5th stage.
Cipollini blames his withdrawal on the injury that took him out of the Giro. Super Mario has never finished a Tour in 8 starts with 12 stage victories.
Update: Alasdair Fotheringham of The Independent provides details of the Italian sprinters' medical conditions:
A crash early on in the race had re-opened a major wound in Cipollini's shin - caused when he skidded across the road in a similarly lethal finale in the Giro - and gravel infected the inside of the wound. The pain proved too much for Cipollini, and Petacchi, suffering from torn ligaments from a crash on Wednesday, opted to join his fellow-Italian on a flight back to Milan from Paris.