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Giro Stg 2: Baldato Scores As Robbie’s DQed

Robbie McEwen’s combative nature has got the better of him in an aggressive finish of the Giro d’ Italia’s 2nd stage in Matera.

An elbow which forced Alessio’s veteran Fabio Baldato towards the barriers saw the Aussie relegated to last place. It was a pretty wayward end to a stage which only meandered gently along for the first couple of hours.

The peloton woke up long enough for Cipo’ to win the Intergiro sprint after 82km, before relaxing back to their 30 km/h cruise between Copernica and Matera. The action wound up a little inside the last 70 kms, as a couple of breakaway attempts were dealt with contemptuously by Fassa Bortolo, defending Petacchi’s Maglia Rosa, before everyone realised that it was still only May 11th, and calmed down again.

Only at the climb of Montescaglioso (22km to go) did things really start to heat up as the climbers gave their legs a shake-out. Fredy Gonzalez snared the climber’s jersey ahead of Casagrande and Garzelli at the top. But behind a little damage was done as Cipo’ lost contact and the peloton began to break up.

This being the Giro, though, it was a case of “Hey, what’s the rush? It’s only day 2,” and the climbers eased off again, allowing the first of the chase groups (featuring Petacchi) to get back on – Cipo was gone for the day, though, and drifted further back.

Up front Pantani’s Mercatone crew and the Vini Caldirola squad for Garzelli set the pace, as the likes of Faresin, Aggiano and Baliani tried and failed to hold off a finally wide-awake front group.

Into the final few hundred metres, Panaria launched Giuliano Figueras, but he just couldn’t hold on as McEwen performed his not-so-cunning blocking move on Baldato. The jury spotted his nefarious deed, and awarded Baldato the stage win.

So, Fabio notches another Giro win for the collection – it’s been a pretty fantastic 18 months or so for the guy that Fassa Bortolo just didn’t think was good enough (or young enough?) anymore. Don’t bet against him sneaking enough Intergiro time bonuses to pull on the pink jersey in the next few days. For the time being though, Petacchi hangs onto the overall lead.

Rider Comments– Reported by Michele Tomasi
Baldato: “McEwen pushed me on the right side of the road and I could just brake so not to crash. I was really disappointed but luckily the jury did the right thing and gave me the victory. This was a stage adapted to me, and before the start my DS told me to be sure about my chances. My last victory at Giro has been in 1993, 10 years ago, and at that edition I won 3 stages. It has been a long time and it makes me more happy. This
victory is for my team, but especially for Denis Zanette, for his wife and his daughters. Im really close to them. That’s for them” .

Colombo: “The last hill has been really hard for everybody and I was thinking to try to go away, but Fassa was pushing hard for Petacchi. At the final sprint I was in a good position, behind Figueras, but my legs weren’t so good as I thought. It’s the fault of the climbing”.

Cipollini: “At the start of the stage I was feeling good, my legs were good. But then on the hill I lost contact and I couldn’t come back. It can happen”.

Garzelli: “At 2 kms from the finish I looked around me and I saw Petacchi and McEwen, and I wanted to try to sprint. Unluckily there were many riders faster than me. Anyway a good result for a rider like me”.

Ferretti: “Petacchi must be more confident about his chances. Sometimes he run fastly, but he ever say ‘I wasn’t feeling fine’, or, ‘ but I got some problems’. He must think that he’s a strong sprinter. Yesterday Cipollini didn’t lose; Petacchi won!”.

Giro d’ Italia Stage 2 Copernica – Matera (177km) Results

1 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Alessio 4.46.57
2 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Domina Vacanze same
3 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Panaria same
4 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo same
5 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) FDJeux.com same
6 Volodomyr Duma (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago same
7 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Caldirola same
8 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Lampre same
9 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco same

Overall
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 10.02.36
2 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Alessio + 0.04
3 Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Domina Vacanze + 0.19

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