Leoni sends Zabel down again

Italian Endrio Leoni (Alessio) won the sprint finish of stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico, sending German Erik Zabel to defeat for the second day in a row. On Thursday, Leoni won his fifth race of the season, beating out Zabel and stage 1 winner Biagio Conte at the end of the 163km stage between Sorrento and Benevento, which finished on with an uphill sprint on a 3 to 4-percent grade. The sprint was the only notable action on a day when the peloton stayed intact and rolled along at a steady, even pace all day long. With his Alessio team still seeking selection for Milan-Remo on March 24, Leoni

By VeloNews Interactive, Copyright 2001 AFP

Italian Endrio Leoni (Alessio) won the sprint finish of stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico, sending German Erik Zabel to defeat for the second day in a row. On Thursday, Leoni won his fifth race of the season, beating out Zabel and stage 1 winner Biagio Conte at the end of the 163km stage between Sorrento and Benevento, which finished on with an uphill sprint on a 3 to 4-percent grade.

The sprint was the only notable action on a day when the peloton stayed intact and rolled along at a steady, even pace all day long.

With his Alessio team still seeking selection for Milan-Remo on March 24, Leoni hopes his strong early-season performance will sway the organizers. “I think that my team merits participation in that race, and it would be right for them to offer us an invitation,” he said.

The eight-day Tirreno-Adriatico continues Friday with a 156km stage between Benevento and Santuario Addolorata as it makes its way across southern Italy toward the Adriatic coast. Following that, Saturday’s stage 4 could be a crucial one, with two steep climbs in the Valico del Calvario and the Passo del Diavolo.

Results

1. Endrio Leoni (I), Alessio, 163 km 4:25:29.
2. Erik Zabel (G), Telekom
3. Biagio Conte (I), Saeco
4. Romans Vainsteins (Lat), Domo-Farm Frites
5. Dimitri Konychev (Rus), Fassa Bortolo
6. Gabriele Balducci (I), Tacconi-Vini Caldirola, all s.t.
7. Andrea Ferrigato (I), Alessio, at 0:02.
8. Gianmatteo Fagini (I), Telekom
9. Sergei Ivanov (Rus), Fassa Bortolo
10. Marcus Zberg (Swi), Rabobank

OVERALL

1. Conte
2. Zabel, at 0:02
3. Konyshev, at 0:03
4. Paolo Bettini (I), Mapei-Quick Step, at 0:03
5. Vainsteins, at 0:06
6. Balducci, s.t.
7. Zberg, at 0:07
8. Mariano Piccoli (I), Lampre-Daikin
9. Daniele Contrini (I), Liquigas, both s.t.
10. Ferrigato, at 0:08.