All the action that mattered was compressed in to the final 500m of today's 156Km stage from Jesolo to Trieste when Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes) proved that he hadn't read the script (well the English version at least) powering past Mark Cavendish (Columbia High Road) to take the win. Ben Swift (Team Katusha) was third making it two Brits in the top 3. Aussie sprinter Alan Davis came in fourth for Quick Step – some consolation for the team's latest Tom Boonen induced woes.
Cavendish stays in the leader's pink jersey and increaed his overall lead to 14 seconds by picking up time bonuses at the intermediate sprints . Petacchi moves up to 7th on the general classification. The Columbia rider should retain the pink jersey until tuesday when the race moves in to the Dolomite mountains.
Leonardo Scarselli (ISD) was today's lone break artist attacking early in the day and riding out on his own for almost 120Km, at one point he had eight minutes on the chasing pack. The big teams were never going to let that last and with 50km to go Garmin Slipstream moved to the front and joined Columbia in upping the pace of the chase. 20Km later they had their man, but as the peloton reeled Scarselli in Frenchman Thomas Voeckler attacked tailed by Scarselli's ISD teamate, Andrily Grivko.
At one point the two looked like they might open a handy lead, but it was not to be and the peloton swept them up. The stage ended with three laps of Trieste which included climbing the Monte Bello. On the final climb, with 5Km to go Philipe Gilbert (Silence Lotto) gave it a go, quickly followed by Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) and Enrico Gasparotto (Lampre), Garmin and Columbia responded vigourously to close them down and Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) got the same treatment when he tried his luck with 2Km to go.
It seemed like the stage was set up for a duel between Garmin's Tyler Farrer and Cavendish. With 800m to go the Columbia train was positioned at the front with Cavendish in place behind his lead out men, with 500m to go he hit the front, but maybe he went too early because 200m from the line Petacchi powered past for a home win and Cavendish was left trailing in his wake.
2009 Giro d'Italia Stage 2 Top 5
1 Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini)
2 Mark Cavendish (Columbia-High Road)
3 Ben Swift (Katusha)
4 Allan Davis (Quick Step)
5 Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream)
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.