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By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002
Saeco’s Danilo Di Luca, riding for the Saeco team, won Monday’s fifth stageof Tirreno-Adriatico, a 150km ride from Rieti to Torricella Sicura.Di Luca, who posted a winning time of 3:39:51, finished ahead of second-placed Erik Zabel (Telekom) and Italian rider Giuliano Figueras who came third.Dutch rider Erik Dekker retains the leader’s yellow and red jersey.Di Luca, who won Saturday’s onerous mountain climb in his native Abruzzoregion, was among a group of eight riders who made the first significantmove on the Passo delle Campanelle climb.But the 27-year-old and his fellow escapees were soon reined in by thepeloton and then Fassa Bortolo pair Dmitri Konyshev and Roberto Petitolaunched a more serious breakaway bid.
Some 50km from the finish the team-mates had built up a two minuteand 15-second advantage over their pursuers but from there the gap slowlydecreased.The Mapei team led the pursuers who, by the time the race had reachedTorricella Sicura for the first time, had got that lead down to 82 seconds.But when the escapees were finally caught it was Di Luca’s Saeco team-mateswho took charge of the race known as the ‘Race of Two Seas’ as it startson the Tyrrhenian shoreline before crossing the peninsula to end at thetraditional finishing line in San Benedetto del Tronto on the AdriaticCoast.Di Luca and Mapei’s Paolo Bettini both made vain bids to go it alonebut in the end it all came down to a sprint over the closing 1400 meters.Di Luca had the last word in a leading pack that, as well as the threepodium finishers, also included Bettini and Davide Rebellin.But Dekker, victor of Sunday’s time trial, remains the man to beat goinginto Tuesday’s penultimate stage, a 208km ride from Rapagnano to Montegranaro which is the longest of the race although not the most arduous in terms of climbs.Di Luca’s win marks a mixed day for his Saeco team, which was forcedto suspend his teammate Fabio Sacchi, after police discovered alleged dopingproducts in a search of his home (see “Sacchisuspended after substances found in Sunday search.”)
1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) 3:39:51 (average speed 40.937 kph);
2. Erik Zabel (Ger);
3. Giuliano Figueras (Ita);
4. Massimiliano Lelli (Ita);
5. Davide Rebellin (Ita);
6. Paolo Bettini (Ita);
7. Franco Pellizotti (Ita);
8. Oskar Camenzind (Swi);
9. Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa);
10. Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) all same time.
1. Erik Dekker (Ned) 18hrs 09min 05sec (average speed 37.730 kph);
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) at 0:22sec;
3. Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) at 0:23;
4. Ruslan Ivanov (Mol) s.t.;
5. Guido Trentin (Ita) at 0:24;
6. Paolo Bettini (Ita) 28;
7. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) at 0:29; 8. Jan Hruska (Cze) at 0:30;
9. Jorg Jaksche (Ger) 36;
10. Oskar Camenzind (Swi) at 0:38