By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2001 AFP
Italian sprinter Biagio Conte (Saeco) took the early lead in the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race on Wednesday when he won the 132km opening stage in Sorrento, Italy. Conte beat out Telekom’s Erik Zabel and Fassa Bortolo’s Dmitri Konyshev in the final sprint.
Conte was given some freedom in the finish after Saeco team leader Mario Cipollini suffered a little bit on the Sant’Angelo climb during the race.
“I am here to help Cipollini, and Thursday, I will return to my role as teammate,” Conte said after his win.
Thursday’s second stage will be a completely flat, 163km course between Sorrento and Benevento, an ideal stage for sprinters such as Zabel and Cipollini.
1. Biagio Conte (I), Saeco
2. Dmitri Konyshev (Rus), Fassa Bortolo
3. Erik Zabel (G), Telekom
4. Gabriele Balducci (I), Tacconi-Vini Caldirola
5. Romans Vainsteins (Lat), Domo-Farm Frites
6. Paolo Bettini (I), Mapei-Quick Step
7. Dario Pieri (I), Saeco
8. George Hincapie (USA), U.S. Postal Service
9. Alberto Ongarato (I), Mobilvetta
10. Andrea Ferrigato (I), Alessio