Fassa Bortolo’s red-hot sprinter Alessandro Petacchi won his third straight stage of the Tour of Valencia, a 157.9 kilometer run from Castellon to Segorbe, on Thursday.
Like his earlier two victories of the week, Petacchi charged to the line, winning a tough sprint, this time at the head of a group of 38 riders as the charged to the finish at the end of , a 157.5km stage from Castellon to Segorbe.
The stage was marked by a series of unsuccessful escape attempts, particularly on the day’s climbs: the Category 1 Eslida; Montana Toras (Cat. 3), Sacanet (Cat. 2) and Montemayor (Cat. 3).
The final break, a large group including Spaniard Melchor Mauri and Russian Dimitri Konychev, appeared bound for a win, when the group was caught just three kilometers from the finish.
1. Alessandro Petacchi (I), Fassa Bortolo, 159.5km in 4:08:19 (38.54kph),; 2. Marcus Zberg (Sui); s.t.
3. Ivan Basso (Ita); 4. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kzk); 5. Samuel Sanchez (Esp); 6. Massimiliano Lelli (Ita); 7. Oscar Freire (Esp); 8. Erik Zabel (All); 9. Guido Trenti (I); 10. Danilo Di Luca (Ita), all s.t.
11. Axel Merckx (Bel), s.t. 13. Michael Boogerd (Nl); 16. Alex Zülle (Sui); 19. Erik Dekker (Nl); 37. Fernando Escartin (Sp), all s.t. 55. Levy Leipheimer (USA), at 0:15; 79. Richard Virenque (Fra), at 1:04.
Overall after three stages:
1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita/Fasso Bortolo), 12:42:16;
2. Erik Zabel (G); 3. Angel Vicioso (Sp); 4. Erik Dekker (Nl); 5. Samuel Sanchez (Sp); 6. Jose Alberto Martinez (Sp); 7. Axel Merckx (B); 8. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus); 9. Antonio Colom (Sp); 10. Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Sp), all s.t.
16. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kzk), at 0:08; 26. Michael Boogerd (Nl), s.t.; 34. Alex Zülle (Swi), at 0:28; 40. Fernando Escartin (Sp), s.t.; 47. Andreas Kloeden (G), at 0:40; 59. Levy Leipheimer (USA), at 0:43; 76. Richard Virenque (F), at 1:32; 78. Stefano Garzelli (I), at 1:33; 89. Oscar Freire (Sp), at 1:53; 111. Angel Casero (Sp), at 8:41; 114. Mario Cipollini (I), at 9:01; 130. Romans Vainsteins (Lat), at 18:47.