March 14, 2006
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 09, 2006
Bettini again at Tirreno-Adriatico, O'Grady out 4-6 weeks
Quick Step's triple world champion Paolo Bettini is 2-for-2 at Tirreno-Adriatico, after a 2nd stage win in Frascati on Thursday.
"I'm not thinking about the general classification, I'm taking things on a day by day basis. Tomorrow's stage is one that I have already won twice, in 1999 and 2003. We'll have to see if I can make it three."
Bettini closed almost 30 seconds on Daniele Contrini in the last 2 kms, passing him in the last 500 meters and outsprinting Milram's Erik Zabel (again). It was Zabel's 9th 2nd-place on the young season. LPR's Mikhaylo Khalilov was 3rd. That's how the overall shakes out, so far, since both stages had the same 1st and 2nd-place riders.
Stuart O'Grady, now riding for CSC, was victim to a pothole, and broke five ribs and his collarbone.
1) Paolo Bettini, Quick Step, in 8:11:54
2) Erik Zabel, Milram, at :08
3) Mikhaylo Khalilov, LPR, at :16
4) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, same time
5) Alessandro Ballan, Lampre, and about 50 other riders, at :20
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.