Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) made it two in a row at the Vuelta a Andalucía-Ruta del Sol while race leader Pablo Lastras (Caisse d’Epargne) stayed in the driver’s seat with just one stage to go. A five-man breakaway was reeled in just in time for the sprinters to take over, with Petacchi making easy work of Borut Bozihc (Cycle Collstrop) to claim the 173.5km march from La Guardia de Jaén to Ecija.
Alessandro Petacchi used all his wile to win a three-up sprint against younger Italian compatriots to win Tuesday’s 174.5km third stage from Otura to Jaén at the Vuelta a Andalucía-Ruta del Sol. The Milram sprinter had just enough in the tank to hold off Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti (Quick Step) and Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval), who came through second and third, respectively.
It didn’t take long for Cadel Evans to crank up his 2008 season in winning fashion. In just his second day of competition in a year when all eyes will be on the Silence-Lotto leader, last year’s Tour runner-up uncorked a winning sprint to out-kick the remnants of a breakaway in a hard-fought second stage at the Vuelta a Andalucía-Ruta del Sol in Spain.
It’s called the Ruta del Sol – the Race of the Sun – but rain was one of the main protagonists in the opening stage of the Vuelta Ciclista a Andalucía, which saw Tour de France favorite Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) kick start his season. Despite the presence of big-time sprinters such as Alessandro Petacchi (Milram), two relatively unknown riders chugged away from the peloton in the early going of the rainy 123.4km stage from Benahavis to Alora across the hills near Malaga.
Petacchi takes win in AlgarveAlessandro Petacchi scored another confidence-boosting win ahead of Milan-San Remo after charging to victory in the third stage of the Tour of the Algarve while Bernard Eisel (T-Mobile) snagged second and moved into the overall lead. Petacchi held off Eisel, the winner of Thursday’s stage, to claim victory for the second time this year and makes up for a relegation earlier this week for dangerous sprinting. Eisel came through second to take the time bonuses to move into the leader’s jersey while Roman Vaitkus (Discovery Channel) was third. "Today was finally
Freire takes Ruta by a second over CioniSpaniard Oscar Freire (Rabobank) won the final stage and the overall at the Ruta del Sol on Thursday, taking the victory from Dario Cioni (Predictor-Lotto) by a single second. The 170.9km stage from Ecija to Antequera was marked by an early break by Netherlander Piet Rooijakkers (Skil-Shimano) and Spaniard Benat Albizuri (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who built a lead of six minutes before being retrieved as the peloton entered Antequera. There, Freire finished two seconds up on a small group containing Cioni, who had led the race since Sunday. Ruta del
Boonen turns it up in RutaTom Boonen (Quick Step-Innergetic) is back in the winner’s column after coming out of a self-imposed hibernation since the Tour of Qatar in January. The Belgian out-kicked Danilo Napolitano (Lampre-Fondital) to win Wednesday’s 179.2km fourth stage from Cabra to Córdoba at the Ruta del Sol in Spain to claim his sixth victory barely a month into the 2007 season. Boonen raced discreetly last week at the Mallorca Challenge without contesting the sprints and kept his head low during the opening three stages of the five-day Ruta while he battled through a stomach
Ignatiev wins againMikhail Ignatiev is quickly proving he can bump shoulders with the big boys. The 21-year-old Russian won for the second time in a week with a victory Tuesday in the 44th Trofeo Laigueglia in Italy. The Tinkoff Credit Systems rider – who won the third stage last week at the Tour Méditerranéen – put down a surprise attack with about 7km to go after the peloton split going over the 690m Passo Balestrino in the 188km hilly march. The 2004 Olympic points champion had enough in the tank to hold off some chasing Italians to snag the win. Coming through second at four seconds
Freire wins in RutaOscar Freire drove home the bunch Monday to win the second stage of the Ruta del Sol, a 156.6km stage from Vegas del Genil to Cazorla in southern Spain. The three-time world champion held off Francisco José Ventoso (Saunier Duval-Prodir) in the mass sprint to snag his second win of the 2007 season. The Rabobank sprinter, who just missed victory in Sunday’s opener after Dario Cioni (Predictor-Lotto) held off a long breakaway, clawed within one second of Cioni’s lead thanks to time bonuses. The race continues Tuesday with the third stage. Hamilton satisfied, eyes Georgia
Luis León Sánchez (Illes Balears-Caisse d’Epargne) hopes his victory in the Mallorca Challenge will help put behind him some painful chapters that were threatening to overwhelm his promising career. The 23-year-old claimed the unofficial overall title Thursday at the five-day Mallorca series (riders are allowed to pick and choose which stages they start) and he said the win takes some weight off his shoulders. “I was motivated to achieve a victory as soon as possible to send it to my brother,” Sánchez told EFE, referring to his older brother who died in a quad accident last year. “I’ve done
Perhaps more than anyone, Spanish rider Oscar Pereiro laments the slow wheels of justice when it comes to resolving the Floyd Landis doping case at the 2006 Tour de France. Pereiro, as runner-up in last year’s Tour, has the most to gain if Landis loses in his bid to prove his innocence against doping charges. And Pereiro maintains he has lost the most of any of the other protagonists in the unfortunate scenario if Landis becomes the first rider of the modern era to have his Tour crown stripped away. “I couldn’t and my team couldn’t maximize the benefits of a Tour victory because of this
Wednesday’s Eurofile: Big three unified as Giro issues invites; A tough Paris-Nice; Tinkoff aims for Med’
The ongoing feud between the grand tours and the UCI turned nastier this week when Giro d’Italia organizers said they will guarantee invitations to only 18 of the 20 teams in the ProTour league for the upcoming edition of the corsa rosa. The decision shows just how deep the divisions are between cycling’s most important race organizers and the sport’s governing body. While there’s been no official word from the UCI, a strong reaction is expected. Giro organizer RCS Sport said new ProTour team Unibet.com won’t be allowed to race the season’s first grand tour (May 12-June 3) and said the
Damiano Cunego has marked two very clear goals for his 2007 racing. Cunego, who said he enjoyed “excellent” winter training, is motivated to have a strong run at the Giro d’Italia podium and shine in the spring classics. “Compared to 2006, it’s true there are less difficult stages but I don’t agree with those who said it’s less difficult,” Cunego told the Italian web page cicloweb.it. “It’s a balanced course with a few decisive days.” Cunego won the 2004 Giro in spectacular fashion, but suffered through media pressure and health issues in 2005 only to bounce back with a solid campaign last
The 2007 road racing season kicks off this week in Europe after a long winter full of doping innuendo and infighting between cycling’s major powers. First up is the French traditional opener Tuesday at the Grand Prix d’Ouverture La Marseillaise followed by the five-day Etoile de Bessège. Seven ProTour teams are among the 18-team field for the 140km La Marseillaise opener, including Ag2r, Bouygues Telecom, Crédit Agricole, Cofidis, FDJeux, T-Mobile and Unibet.com. Etoile start Wednesday in Pézenas and wraps up Sunday in Bessèges with a mix of stages across southern France. The expansive
Thursday’s Eurofile: Farrar staying; Di Luca dreaming; Beltrán riding; Lombardi helping; Murcia surviving
American classics hope Tyler Farrar will be staying with Cofidis through the end of his contract this season and won’t be joining Discovery Channel - at least for now. Farrar’s name was linked to the American team last week when he appeared on a list of Discovery Channel riders for the 2007 season. The 22-year-old admitted he’s spoken with Discovery Channel representatives, but denied he was poised to leave the French team just as the 2007 season kicks into gear. “I was just as surprised as everyone else. I was at the Cofidis team presentation and someone pulled out a copy of Het Laatste
The Mailbag is a regular feature on VeloNews.com. If you have a comment, an opinion or observation regarding anything you have seen in cycling, in VeloNews magazine or on VeloNews.com, write to WebLetters@InsideInc.com. Please include your full name and home town. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.Applause for Bergman’s confessionEditor:This might sound crazy, bit I actually sat at my computer this morning and applauded. I didn't applaud for Tom Boonen or Carlos Garcia Quesada and their victories at the Ruta del Sol or for any of the other victorious cyclists featured by
Spain’s Carlos Garcia Quesada (Unibet.com), won the Ruta del Sol on Thursday. The fifth and final stage, a 172.6km leg between Olvera and Seville, went to Tom Boonen (Quick Step), who finally took his revenge on Alessandro Petacchi (Milram), who had beaten the world champion in their last two matchups. Roger Hammond (Discovery Channel) was third. In the final overall, Garcia Quesada took the win over countryman Rodrigo Garcia (Kaiku) with his brother, Adolfo Garcia Quesada (Andalucia-Paul Versan) placing third and collecting the King of the Mountains prize. Petacchi took the points jersey
Italian Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) once again showed world champion Tom Boonen his heels en route to winning the fourth stage of the Ruta del Sol on Wednesday. Boonen (Quick Step) held on for second ahead of Aussie Graeme Brown (Rabobank) in the 162.1km stage between Ecija and Ronda. Spain’s Carlos Garcia Quesada (Unibet), remains the overall leader ahead of Rodrigo Garcia (Kaiku), who was briefly slowed by a crash involving several riders, and García Quesada's brother, Adolfo (Andalucia-Paul Versan). Thursday's finale, a 172.6km run between Olvera and Seville, seems likely to
Wednesday’s EuroFile: VDB’s fine overturned; Zanotti takes Tour de l’Algarve opener; teams for L-B-L
Belgian cyclist Frank Vandebroucke on Wednesday won an appeal to the Belgian supreme court in Brussels, overturning a judgment that he pay a 250.000-euro fine for possession of doping products, according to his lawyers. Last June, an appeals court in Ghent had ordered the fine, saying that Vandenbroucke "was to be judged as a drug addict, not as a doped sportsman." It was a first for a high-level athlete facing doping charges in Belgium. On Wednesday, the higher court overturned the judgment, finding the lower court’s reasoning "insufficient," said Me Luc Deleu, one of Vandebroucke’s
The much-anticipated battle of the sprinters finally materialized in stage 3 of the Ruta del Sol on Tuesday as Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) pipped world champion Tom Boonen (Quick Step) in the final dash to the line. Petacchi took the 174.1km stage from Cabra to Cordoue in just under four hours, with Boonen second and Graeme Brown third in the same time. Spaniard Carlos Garcia Quesada (Unibet) retained the overall lead. Stage1. Alessandro Petacchi (I), Milram), 174.1km in 3:52:582. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step, s.t.3. Graeme Brown (Aus), Rabobank, s.t.4. Baden Cooke (Aus), Unibet, s.t.5.