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Petacchi wins a third stage while Lastras takes the overall title

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) made it three in a row while Pablo Lastras (Caisse d’Epargne) wrapped up the overall title at the 54th Vuelta a Andalucía-Ruta de Sol. The 154.6km fifth and final stage from Antequera to Córdoba ended just as both protagonists could have hoped. The 34-year-old “AleJet” made easy work of Denis Flahaut (Saunier Duval) and Sebastian Siedler (Skil Shimano) while Lastras finished safely in the pack to secure the top spot on the podium.

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Petacchi says he’s coming into form for Milan-San Remo

By Andrew Hood

Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) made it three in a row while Pablo Lastras (Caisse d’Epargne) wrapped up the overall title at the 54th Vuelta a Andalucía-Ruta de Sol.

The 154.6km fifth and final stage from Antequera to Córdoba ended just as both protagonists could have hoped. The 34-year-old “AleJet” made easy work of Denis Flahaut (Saunier Duval) and Sebastian Siedler (Skil Shimano) while Lastras finished safely in the pack to secure the top spot on the podium.

“I’m overjoyed. I want to say special thanks to my team, who did such an excellent job for me,” Petacchi said. “I hope that I will be able to get into even better shape in order to be successful in the first really big race of the season for me, which is of course Milan-San Remo.”

Lastras, meanwhile, was thankful that he chased in vain a two-man breakaway in the rainy, crash-laden first stage. He failed in his mission to reel in the escapees, but gained time on the peloton and then eventually picked off the two riders ahead of him on GC.

He finally moved into the overall lead in the third stage and then coasted on the wheels of the sprinter teams in the final two stages to take the win.

“This win goes for all the team and I want to thank them to help realize this dream of taking the leader’s jersey to Córdoba,” said Lastras, who won a stage in the 2002 Vuelta a España there. “Now I will focus on my next objectives, which are Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo.”