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Petacchi wins Tour of Britain Stage 1

Tour of Britain Stage 1

Italian sprinter Allessandro Pettachi stormed back from his 12 month drugs ban in emphatic style to take Stage 1 of the Tour of Britain. Petacchi powered home ahead of Rob Hayles with Magnus Backstedt in third. Daniel Di Luca – who had been first to break for the line – lost out on a podium spot. In every edition of the Tour of Britain so far the winner of the first stage has gone on to claim the race, which might seem like a good omen for Petacchi. The usual scenario is that a small break develops early in the stage, building up a big lead, while the peloton declines to chase. When they do it is too late: the result of the stage and the race is sealed in the first few hours. This time around things looked to be following the usual pattern with a seven man break going clear, of which Di Luca was a prominent part, but they were caught before the finish when Stuart O'Grady and his CSC Saxo Bank team upped the pace and reeled them in on the final lap of the London street circuit. That set up the day for the sprinters and Petacchi had his moment. Whether his LPR Brakes team will be strong enough to help him hold on to that lead remains to be seen. We should get an indication of that today when the race goes from Milton Keynes to Newbury. The Tour of Britain ends in Liverpool next Sunday when the riders will once again take on a city centre circuit.

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