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Stage Win For Petacchi, Piepoli Still In Overall Lead In Vuelta Aragуn

Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo’s sprinter, managed to hang on to-day through a fast, hard stage of 185 rain-soaked kilometres from Benasque to Sabiсanigo to take the stage honours.

A fast start from Benasque saw the race cover 52 kilometres in the first hour. After the first cat. climb of the Puerto de Serrablo, 69 riders were off the front with all the stars: Piepoli, Simoni, Beltran, Pantani and Ulrich. They ended nearly 12 minutes ahead by the finish in Sabiсanigo.

The last 50 kilometres were fairly flat, so there was a lot of attacks, Francisco Vila from Lampre managed to gain 47 seconds, but with Fassa Bortolo and ONCE on the front it was doomed. A dangerous group including 7th. placed Fabian Jeker (Milaneza) and with Fernandez (Cofidis), Nozal (ONCE) and Bayarri (Phonak) for company moved off the front in the last 10 kilometres. Paternina did the chasing as Brochard (AG2R) and Odriozola (ibanesto.com) crossed to the other four.

A nervous bunch had them back with 5 kilometres to go, Lobato (Paternina) went on his own in the outskirts of Sabiсanigo at 2 to go, he was back in the fold at the red kite with Fassa Bortolo leading out Petacchi for the sprint win, and Pantani 5th. ??????

Tomorrow the third stage starts and finishes in Illueca, 157 kilometres, 2 climbs, the Puerto de la Chabola (2nd. cat) and Alto de Aguarуn (1st. cat).

Stage 2 Result:

1st. A.Petacchi (FAS) 4:17:2O.
2nd. A.Edo (MIL) same time.
3rd. F.Fontanelli (MER) same time.
4th. M.Artetxe (EUS) same time.
5th. M.Pantani (MER) same time.
6th. J.Silloniz (EUS) same time.

Overall After Stage 2, inc. bonus:

1st. L.Piepoli (BAN) 8:17:56.
2nd. G.Simoni (SAE) at 24 secs.
3rd. M.Beltran (COA) at 26 secs.
4th. J.Jufre (REL) at 39 secs.
5th. C.Garcia Quesada (KEL) at 48 secs.
6th. V.Karpets (BAN) at 56 secs.
7th. F.Jeker (MIL) at 57 secs.
8th. F.Mancebo (BAN) at 58 secs.
9th. J.C.Dominguez (PHO) at 58 secs.
10th. K.Moller (MIL) at 58 secs.

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