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Dekker wraps up title at Tirreno-Adriatico

Dutchman Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) won the 41st Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday, as Italian Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) sprinted to victory in the seventh and final stage. Petacchi won the 166km finale in San Benedetto del Tronto ahead of Australian Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto), Italian Paride Grillo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) and Norwegian Thor Hushvod (Crédit Agricole). "I didn't want to finish without a stage win," said Petacchi. "My teammates worked well in the final kilometers and carried me until the final 180 meters. I preferred to leave the sprint until as late as possible as

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By Staff and wire reports

The final podium

The final podium

Photo: AFP

Dutchman Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) won the 41st Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday, as Italian Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) sprinted to victory in the seventh and final stage.

Petacchi won the 166km finale in San Benedetto del Tronto ahead of Australian Robbie McEwen (Davitamon-Lotto), Italian Paride Grillo (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare) and Norwegian Thor Hushvod (Crédit Agricole).

“I didn’t want to finish without a stage win,” said Petacchi. “My teammates worked well in the final kilometers and carried me until the final 180 meters. I preferred to leave the sprint until as late as possible as the road climbed slightly and there was some wind.”

Spaniard Joseba Albizu (Euskaltel-Euskadi) got the ball rolling at the 43km mark with a solo attack, building a gap of nearly five minutes before the peloton, mobilized by Crédit Agricole and Milram, started taking time back with an eye toward launching Hushovd and Petacchi to the final stage win.

Petacchi wins as Zabel exults

Petacchi wins as Zabel exults

Photo: AFP

Dekker punctured at one point, but his teammates waited for him as he got a wheel change and brought him safely back to the bunch, where he stayed to cinch his overall win.

“During the winter I chose Tirreno-Adriatico as my first objective of the season and so I’m very happy I’ve won. I’m going to celebrate with some champagne,” Dekker told Reuters afterward.

“It’s never easy to win a big race, and I was nervous even during the last stage. I was scared of crashing on the final circuits because it was very fast and dangerous.”

Very fast indeed, especially for anyone trying to catch the powerful Petacchi, who collected his seventh success this season and must be considered a favorite to retain his title in Saturday’s Milan-San Remo classic.

The Italian speedster tapped world champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step-Innergetic) as “a major threat” to his hopes of repeating his 2005 victory, but added: “I can’t deny that I’m in excellent form. All I need is luck on my side.”

Top 10
1. Alessandro Petacchi (I), Milram, 166km in 4:22:50
2. Robbie McEwen (Aus), Daviitamon-Lotto, same time
3. Paride Grillo (I), Ceramica Panaria-Nivagre), s.t.
4. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Crédit Agricole, s.t.
5. Erik Zabel (G), Milram, s.t.>br>6. Steven De Jongh (Ned) s.t.
7. Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ukr) s.t.
8. Jimmy Casper (F) s.t.
9. Uros Murn (Slo) s.t.
10. Antonio Murilo Fischer (Bra) s.t.

Final overall top 10
1. Thomas Dekker (Ned), Rabobank, 27:32:14
2. Jorg Jaksche (G), Liberty Seguros, at 0:14
3. Alessandro Ballan (I), Lampre, at 0:20
4. Paolo Savoldelli (I), Discovery Channel, at 0:40
5. Michael Boogerd (Ned), Rabobank, at 0:46
6. Leonardo Bertagnolli (I), Cofidis, at 0:54
7. Ivan Basso (I) CSC, s.t.
8. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, at 0:56
9. Karsten Kroon (Ned), CSC, at 0:58
10. Thomas Danielson (USA), Discovery Channel, at 0:59

Complete results

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