Road

Sunday’s EuroFile: Petacchi still has ProTour jersey; Heading to the Basque Country

Petacchi retains ProTour leadDespite Tom Boonen’s stylish victory in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, Italian sprint ace Alessandro Petacchi retains the overall lead in the ProTour series. Boonen moved into fourth on the point’s scale with 62 points, but Petacchi remains comfortably in the lead with 93 points thanks to his Milan-San Remo victory and success at Tirreno-Adriatico. T-A winner Oscar Freire, who did not start Flanders, remains in second in 78 points. Bobby Julich, winner of the first ProTour event at Paris-Nice, sits fifth at 50 points. UCI ProTour Standings, after four events1.

By Andrew Hood

Petacchi retains ProTour lead
Despite Tom Boonen’s stylish victory in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders, Italian sprint ace Alessandro Petacchi retains the overall lead in the ProTour series.

Boonen moved into fourth on the point’s scale with 62 points, but Petacchi remains comfortably in the lead with 93 points thanks to his Milan-San Remo victory and success at Tirreno-Adriatico. T-A winner Oscar Freire, who did not start Flanders, remains in second in 78 points. Bobby Julich, winner of the first ProTour event at Paris-Nice, sits fifth at 50 points.

UCI ProTour Standings, after four events
1. Alessandro Petacchi (I), Fassa Bortolo – 93 pts
2. Oscar Freire Gomez (Sp), Rabobank – 78
3. Danilo Hondo (G), Gerolsteiner – 70
4. Tom Boonen (B), QuickStep – 62
5. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC – 50
6. Andreas Klier (G), T-Mobile – 41
7. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Sp), Illes Balears – 41
8. Peter Van Petegem (B), Davitamon-Lotto – 35
9. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel – 35
10. Fabrizio Guidi (I), Phonak – 35
11. Constantino Zaballa Gutierrez (Sp), Saunier Duval – 35
12. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Credit Agricole – 35
13. Jens Voigt (G), CSC – 31
14. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile – 30
15. Stuart O’grady (Aus), Cofidis – 30
16. Roberto Petito (I), Fassa Bortolo – 25
17. Jörg Jaksche (G), Liberty Seguros – 25
18. Franco Pellizotti (I), Liquigas-Bianchi – 25
19. Laurent Brochard (F), Bouygues Telecom – 25
20. Alessandro Ballan (I), Lampre-Caffita – 20

Extebarria wants Basque Country success
David Etxebarria will be among the favorites for Monday’s kick off of the five-day Vuelta al Pais Vasco in Spain’s hilly Basque region. Back with Liberty Seguros (formerly ONCE), the two-time Tour de France stage-winner is looking to end a winless streak dating back to 2003.

“For me is important because I will race at home and, besides, now there is included in the UCI-ProTour, which makes it more important for my team. I believe that I come in good enough form,” Etxebarria said. “I believe for the races included in the ProTour there is more tension, the bunch in general is more tense, though the final result will be almost the same.”

Vuelta al Pais Vasco
Stage 1, April 4, Zarautz-Zarautz, 133km
Stage 2, April 5, Zarautz to Le Lejana, 166km
Stage 3, April 6, Ortuella to Vitoria, 176km
Stage 4, April 7, Vitoria to Alsasua, 167km
Stage 5a, April 8, Alsasua to Arantzazu, 93km
Stage 5b, April 8, Onati, 9.3km ITT

Rodríguez wins GP Big Mig
Javier Pascual Rodríguez (Comunidad Valenciana) took the honors in this weekend’s GP Miguel Indurain that kick starts a week of racing in northern Spain. Rodríguez, a winner of a stage last year in the Vuelta a Espana, held off a solo attack to win the 189km race in Estella in the Navarra region of Spain.

Rodríguez held off such favorites as Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) and Angel Vicioso (Liberty Seguros) to claim the win. He held a 20-second lead over the Muru climb in the late going to secure the victory under the rain in, yes, Spain.

GP Miguel Indurain, April 2
1. Javier Pascual-Rodriguez (Spa), Comunidad Valenciana 5h04:23
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa), Illes Balears +0:09
3. Angel Vicioso (Spa), Liberty Seguros-Wurth
4. Egoi Martinez (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi
5. Ricardo Serrano (Spa), Kaiku – all same time