Petacchi out-roars Lion King in Giro opener

It was Alessandro Petacchi - not Mario Cipollini - winning Saturday’s 201km opening stage of the 2003 Giro d’Italia in a mass gallop. On a day when everyone expected the world champion to tie the 41-win mark set by Alfredo Binda, Petacchi played the spoiler to win his first career Giro stage. “It’s as good as it can get,” Petacchi said. “It was kind of like three for one. I won my first Giro stage of my career, earned the maglia rosa, and I beat Cipollini who’s in the rainbow jersey. Not bad.” The opening stage of the 86th Giro was flat as a pancake, winding along the spectacular coast

By Andrew Hood

Fassa Bortolo's Alessandro Petacchi shot round world champ Mario Cipollini's right side.

Fassa Bortolo’s Alessandro Petacchi shot round world champ Mario Cipollini’s right side.

Photo: Graham Watson

It was Alessandro Petacchi – not Mario Cipollini – winning Saturday’s 201km opening stage of the 2003 Giro d’Italia in a mass gallop.

On a day when everyone expected the world champion to tie the 41-win mark set by Alfredo Binda, Petacchi played the spoiler to win his first career Giro stage.

“It’s as good as it can get,” Petacchi said. “It was kind of like three for one. I won my first Giro stage of my career, earned the maglia rosa, and I beat Cipollini who’s in the rainbow jersey. Not bad.”

The opening stage of the 86th Giro was flat as a pancake, winding along the spectacular coast along Italy’s “heel,” starting and finishing in Lecce. The peloton stayed together through the first 150km until Team fakta’s Frank Hoj and Teke’s Cristian Frattini chugged away from the main bunch.

Team fakta’s Frank Hoj and Teke’s Cristian Frattini get a little TV time.

Photo: Graham Watson

The duo never got more than 45 seconds off the front, and their TV time was over with 10km to go. After some confusion, Cipollini’s train was on track with 7km remaining, and it looked like the Lion King was ready to roar.

Petacchi won the fight to get on Cipollini’s wheel, and after Domina Vacanze’s Giovanni Lombardi launched Cipollini, Petacchi came around his right shoulder to take his seventh win of the season.

“I missed the explosiveness in the final meters,” said Cipollini, decked out in an all-white suit showing off his rainbow colors. “A defeat is always difficult to accept. I congratulate Petacchi. If I am going to be beaten, I prefer it is by him. I recognize his strength since the world championships last year in Zolder. For the next stages, I hope to improve. I am not demoralized.”

Alessio’s Angelo Furlan came across to take third with Kelme’s Isaac Galvez fourth. Aussie Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) crossed the line fifth.

Petacchi takes the maglia rosa with an eight-second time bonus over second-place Cipollini.

Petacchi’s been the dominant Italian sprinter of the season, despite having his spring-classics season derailed by the flu. Petacchi won the semi-classic Luis Puig and a stage at the Tour of Valencia back in February and a stage at Paris-Nice before being sidelined with illness. He came back to win three stages at the Tour of Aragon in April, but only needed to win a Giro stage to make his season complete.

“This win gives me a lot of motivation and confidence for the next stages,” he said. “They are quite similar, and it’s been a dream to win a Giro stage.”

It was an otherwise quiet day on the bike for the main protagonists. Mercatone Uno’s Marco Pantani was forced to wear a helmet under new UCI rules, but wouldn’t ride without his trademark bandana.

Vini Caldiroli’s Stefano Garzelli was looking very serious at the team presentation, while Saeco’s Gilberto Simoni came to the race with a flashy new bike.

The Giro continues Sunday with another flat stage, well-suited for sprinters – 174km from Copertino to Matera. There’s a small climb with 27km to go, and another rise with 12km to go, and the finish line comes up yet another small rise.

Matera has hosted the Giro before four times before, with Cipollini winning in 1998 and 2000.

After Saturday’s disappointment, you can be sure Super Mario will be looking for revenge.

* * *

Meanwhile, to see how today’s stage unfolded – and get a peek at Simoni’s stylish new steed – just click here to follow the action as it happened on the roads near Lecce.Full results posted

Photo Gallery


1. Alessandro Petacchi (I), Fassa Bortolo, 201km in 5:16:03
2. Mario Cipollini (I), Domina Vacanze-Elitron, at 0:00
3. Angelo Furlan (I), Alessio, at 0:00
4. Isaac Galvez Lopez (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blanca, at 0:00
5. Robbie Mc Ewen (Aus), Lotto-Domo, at 0:00
6. Brown Graeme Allen (Aus), Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, at 0:00
7. Jimmy Casper (F),, at 0:00
8. Dario Pieri (I), Saeco, at 0:00
9. Jan Svorada (Cz), Lampre, at 0:00
10. Graziano Gasparre (I), De Nardi-Colpack, at 0:00
11. Guillermo Bongiorno (ARG), Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, at 0:00
12. Werner Riebenbauer (A), Fakta, at 0:00
13. Moreno Di Biase (I), Formaggi Pinzolo, at 0:00
14. Mariano Piccoli (I), Lampre, at 0:00
15. Matteo Carrara (I), De Nardi-Colpack, at 0:00
16. Fabio Sacchi (I), Saeco, at 0:00
17. Robert Forster (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:00
18. Andris Naudusz (Lat), CCC, at 0:00
19. Gabriele Balducci (I), Sidermec Vini Caldirola, at 0:00
20. Guido Trenti (USA), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:00
21. Biagio Conte (I), Formaggi Pinzolo, at 0:00
22. Lorenzo Bernucci (I), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:00
23. Giovanni Lombardi (I), Domina Vacanze-Elitron, at 0:00
24. Mykhaylo Khalilov (Ukr), CLM, at 0:00
25. Denis Lunghi (I), Alessio, at 0:00
26. Michele Gobbi (I), De Nardi-Colpack, at 0:00
27. Serhiy Honchar (Ukr), De Nardi-Colpack, at 0:00
28. Magnus Backstedt (SWE), Fakta, at 0:00
29. Gilberto Simoni (I), Saeco, at 0:00
30. Franco Pellizotti (I), Alessio, at 0:00
31. Marco Velo (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:00
32. Constan Zaballa Gutierez (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blanca, at 0:00
33. Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez (Sp), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:00
34. Arvesen Kurt Asle (Nor), Fakta, at 0:00
35. Rik Verbrugghe (B), Lotto-Domo, at 0:00
36. Fabio Baldato (I), Alessio, at 0:00
37. Marius Sabaliauskas (Lit), Saeco, at 0:00
38. Dario Frigo (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:07
39. Marco Pantani (I), Mercatone Uno, at 0:07
40. Francesco Casagrande (I), Lampre, at 0:07
41. Kim Kirchen (Lux), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:07
42. Gianni Faresin (I), Gerolsteiner, at 0:07
43. Marzio Bruseghin (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:07
44. Pietro Caucchioli (I), Alessio, at 0:07
45. Cristian Moreni (I), Alessio, at 0:07
46. Andrea Noe’ (I), Alessio, at 0:07
47. Georg Totschnig (A), Gerolsteiner, at 0:07
48. Mario Manzoni (I), Mercatone Uno, at 0:07
49. David Derepas (F),, at 0:07
50. Andrea Tonti (I), Saeco, at 0:07
51. Marin Ruber Alverio (Col), CLM, at 0:07
52. Bo Hamburger (Dk), Formaggi Pinzolo, at 0:07
53. Fredy Gonzalez Cuapio (Col), CLM, at 0:07
54. Leonardo Bertagnolli (I), Saeco, at 0:07
55. Scott Sunderland (Aus), Fakta, at 0:07
56. Raimondas Rumsas (Lit), Lampre, at 0:07
57. Joaquim Castelblanco (Col), CLM, at 0:07
58. Laverde Jimenez Luis F. (Col), Formaggi Pinzolo, at 0:07
59. Elio Aggiano (I), Formaggi Pinzolo, at 0:07
60. Mario Scirea (I), Domina Vacanze-Elitron, at 0:07
61. Cioni Dario David (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:07
62. Sergio Barbero (I), Lampre, at 0:07
63. Bernhard Eisel (A),, at 0:07
64. Fabiano Fontanelli (I), Mercatone Uno, at 0:07
65. Massimo Codol (I), Mercatone Uno, at 0:07
66. Vladimir Duma (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:07
67. Ignacio Gutierrez Cataluna (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blanca, at 0:07
68. Alexis Rodriguez (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blanca, at 0:07
69. Tom Stremersch (B), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:07
70. Aart Vierhouten (Nl), Lotto-Domo, at 0:07
71. Bak Lars Ytting (Dk), Fakta, at 0:07
72. Giuseppe Palumbo (I), De Nardi-Colpack, at 0:07
73. Daniele Bennati (I), Domina Vacanze-Elitron, at 0:07
74. Franc Vila Errandonea (Sp), Lampre, at 0:07
75. Damiano Cunego (I), Saeco, at 0:07
76. Leonardo Giordani (I), De Nardi-Colpack, at 0:07
77. Fortunato Baliani (I), Formaggi Pinzolo, at 0:07
78. Carlos Dacruz (F),, at 0:07
79. Dariusz Baranowski (Pol), CCC, at 0:07
80. Simone Bertoletti (I), Lampre, at 0:07
81. Pavel Tonkov (Rus), CCC, at 0:07
82. Leonardo Zanotti (I), De Nardi-Colpack, at 0:07
83. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blanca, at 0:07
84. Koos Moerenhout (Nl), Lotto-Domo, at 0:07
85. Luca De Angeli (I), CLM, at 0:07
86. Julian Usano Martinez (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blanca, at 0:07
87. Matteo Tosatto (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:07
88. Giuliano Figueras (I), Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, at 0:07
89. Sergiy Adyeyev (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:07
90. Sergei Lelekin (Rus), TEN, at 0:07
91. Alessandro Spezialetti (I), Saeco, at 0:07
92. Regis Lhuillier (F),, at 0:07
93. Steffen Weigold (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:07
94. Radoslaw Romanik (Pol), CCC, at 0:07
95. Sandy Casar (F),, at 0:07
96. Perez Cuapio Julio A. (MEX), Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, at 0:07
97. Gabriele Colombo (I), Domina Vacanze-Elitron, at 0:07
98. Luca Mazzanti (I), Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, at 0:07
99. Paolo Fornaciari (I), Saeco, at 0:07
100. Daniele Pietropolli (I), TEN, at 0:07
101. Piotr Chmielewski (Pol), CCC, at 0:07
102. Frederic Guesdon (F),, at 0:07
103. Rinaldo Nocentini (I), Formaggi Pinzolo, at 0:07
104. Paolo Tiralongo (I), Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, at 0:07
105. Michele Scarponi (I), Domina Vacanze-Elitron, at 0:07
106. Petersen Jorgen Bo (Dk), Fakta, at 0:07
107. Manuel Quinziato (I), Lampre, at 0:07
108. Brett Lancaster (Aus), Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, at 0:07
109. Paolo Lanfranchi (I), Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, at 0:07
110. Ief Verbrugghe (B), Lotto-Domo, at 0:07
111. Andrus Aug (Est), De Nardi-Colpack, at 0:07
112. Mirko Marini (I), TEN, at 0:07
113. Seweryn Kohut (Pol), CCC, at 0:07
114. Bogdan Bondariew (Ukr), CCC, at 0:07
115. Garcia John Freddy (Col), CLM, at 0:07
116. Cristian Gasperoni (I), Mercatone Uno, at 0:07
117. Bradley Wiggins (GB),, at 0:07
118. Scott Davis (Aus), Ceramiche Panaria-Fiordo, at 0:07
119. Daniele Contrini (I), Gerolsteiner, at 0:07
120. Ronny Scholz (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:07
121. Munoz Hernan D. (Col), CLM, at 0:07
122. Mauro Zanetti (I), TEN, at 0:07
123. Massimo Apollonio (I), Sidermec Vini Caldirola, at 0:07
124. Giuseppe Muraglia (Rus), Formaggi Pinzolo, at 0:07
125. Uwe Hardter (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:07
126. Thomas Brozyna (Pol), CCC, at 0:07
127. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), Sidermec Vini Caldirola, at 0:07
128. Wladimir Belli (I), Lampre, at 0:07
129. Gianluca Tonetti (I), TEN, at 0:07
130. Rodolfo Massi (I), CLM, at 0:07
131. Steve Zampieri (Swi), Sidermec Vini Caldirola, at 0:07
132. Charles Wegelius (GB), De Nardi-Colpack, at 0:07
133. Salvatore Scamardella (I), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:07
134. Stefano Garzelli (I), Sidermec Vini Caldirola, at 0:07
135. Joergensen Rene’ (Dk), Fakta, at 0:07
136. Martin Hvastija (SLO), TEN, at 0:07
137. Adolfo Garcia Quesada (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blanca, at 0:07
138. Cheula Gian Paolo (I), Sidermec Vini Caldirola, at 0:07
139. Nicolas Fritsch (F),, at 0:07
140. Volodimir Bileka (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:07
141. Oscar Pozzi (I), TEN, at 0:07
142. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol), Mercatone Uno, at 0:07
143. Jordi Riera Valls (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blanca, at 0:07
144. Piotr Przydzial (Pol), CCC, at 0:07
145. Daniel Clavero (Sp), Mercatone Uno, at 0:07
146. Roberto Conti (I), Mercatone Uno, at 0:07
147. Mesa Mesa Hector O. (Col), Formaggi Pinzolo, at 0:07
148. Marcel Strauss (Swi), Gerolsteiner, at 0:07
149. Johan Verstrepen (B), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:07
150. Oscar Mason (I), Sidermec Vini Caldirola, at 0:07
151. Mauro Gerosa (I), Sidermec Vini Caldirola, at 0:29
152. Dario Andriotto (I), Sidermec Vini Caldirola, at 0:00
153. Ruslan Gryschenko (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:58
154. Nick Gates (Aus), Lotto-Domo, at 0:58
155. Cristiano Frattini (I), TEN, at 0:58
156. Crescenzo D’Amore (I), TEN, at 1:04
157. Juilian Winn (GB), Fakta, at 1:08
158. Gerhard Trampusch (A), Gerolsteiner, at 0:00
159. Raffaele Illiano (I), CLM, at 1:16
160. Ivan Ravaioli (I), Mercatone Uno, at 1:19
161. Vladimir Miholievic (CRO), Alessio, at 1:21
162. Francesco Secchiari (I), Domina Vacanze-Elitron, at 1:21
163. Gianpaolo Mondini (I), Domina Vacanze-Elitron, at 1:23
164. Alberto Ongarato (I), Domina Vacanze-Elitron, at 1:23
165. Kevin Van Impe (B), Lotto-Domo, at 1:23
166. Gert Steegmans (B), Lotto-Domo, at 2:04
167. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:00
168. Thierry Marichal (B), Lotto-Domo, at 2:07
169. Frank Hoj (Dk), Fakta, at 2:07