By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002
Fassa Bortolo’s Alessandro Petacchi clinched the second stage of Spain’s Tour of Valencia on Wednesday; a 216km run from Calpe to Castellon. The Italian rider had also claimed the opening stage on Tuesday.
The Italian rider also claimed the opening stage on Tuesday and both wins came after a sprint finish although Wednesday’s lacked the first day’s drama when world road race champion Oscar Freire and Mario Cipollini fell.
Italian sprint king Cipollini grabbed second with German Erik Zabel in third.
“I wasn’t expecting a second win but I felt good at the end and I was able to exploit the rivalry between the great cyclists Zabel, Cipollini and Freire,” said the man in the yellow jersey. Dario Gadeo made a brave solo attempt to slip the pack at the 53km marker, the Spaniard building up a lead, which at its height measured nine minutes. But the peloton caught up with him 18km from the end.
Another breakaway effort by Gadeo’s compatriot Garcia Calvo and Argentina’s Gustavo Toledo also came to nothing.
Thursday’s third stage is a 159.5km run from Castellon to Segorbe, with sprinters like Pettachi unlikely to be favored by the course, which features first, second and third category climbs.
1. Alessandro Petacchi (I), 5:23:52; 2. Mario Cipollini (I), s.t.; 3. Erik Zabel (G), s.t.; 4. Jeroen Blijlevens (Nl), s.t.; 5. Oscar Freire (Sp), s.t.; 6. Martin Elmiger (Swi), s.t.; 7. Erik Dekker (Nl), s.t.; 8. Iban Herrero (Sp), s.t.; 9. Antonio Colom (Sp), s.t.; 10. Jose Alberto Martinez (Sp), s.t.
16. Axel Merckx (B), s.t., 36. Alex Zuelle (Swi), at 0:08; 43. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), s.t.; 44. Unai Etxeberria (Ven), s.t.; 98. Richard Virenque (Fra), s.t.
1. Petacchi, 8:23:52; 2. Erik Zabel (G), s.t.; 3. Erik Dekker (Nl), s.t.; 4. Angel Vicioso (Sp), s.t.; 5. David Clinger (USA),
s.t.; 6. Antonio Colom (Spa), s.t.; 7. Jose Alberto Martinez (Spa), s.t.; 8. Fred Rodriguez (USA), s.t.; 9. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), s.t.; 10. Samuel Sanchez (Spa), s.t.
12. Axel Merckx (B), s.t.; 21. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), at 0:08; 52. Alex Zülle (Swi), 0:28; 64. Unai Etxeberria (Ven), s.t.; 68. Richard Virenque (Fra), s.t.; 113. Mario Cipollini (Ita), at 0:58.