Giro d'Italia - Ventoso pips Petacchi for win
Thu, 12 May 15:11:00 2011
Spain's Francisco Ventoso held Italy's Alessandro Petacchi at bay to win stage six of the Giro d'Italia in Fuiggi.
In quite bizarre scenes at the end of the 216-kilometre stage in central Italy, Lampre veteran Petacchi looked certain to pass Ventoso to take the win but pulled up with metres to spare, allowing the Spaniard to triumph for team Movistar.
Both riders had reacted to an early attack from Katusha's Danilo Di Luca, who used the slightly uphill finish as a launch pad for an attempted trademark ride to glory.
Ventoso led the counter attack and the pair passed the 2007 Giro champion with 100 metres to spare. But just as the 37-year-old Petacchi appeared to be coming around the side of his rival, the Italian stopped pedalling and looked over his shoulder, as if to throw in the towel.
Ventoso maintained his momentum to take the fifth win of his season - and his biggest since 2006, when he won stage three of the Vuelta a Espana.
Dutchman Pieter Weening of Rabobank retained the leader's pink jersey ahead of the race's first mountain top finish on Friday.
Under hot sun in Umbria and Lazio, the stage was animated early on by a five-man breakaway which included RadioShack's Yaroslav Popovych.
The escapees built up a lead of just over five minutes but were reeled in bit by bit by the bunch before a series of counter attacks saw numerous riders try their luck.
Local rider Stafano Pirazza (Colnago) twice attempted to break clear, while Britain's David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) tested his legs less than 24 hours after losing the leader's pink jersey. There was also a brave effort from Italian climber Emanuele Sella of Androni Giocattoli.
Belgian Kristof Vandewalle (Quick Step) was the last rider from the initial five-man breakaway to be caught, just 2km from the finish.
The uphill finish looked ideal for the likes of Di Luca and points leader Petacchi but neither Italians had the strength showed by Ventoso, who collapsed on the tarmac in a heap after his win.
Roberto Ferrari of Androni Giocattoli took third ahead of Di Luca.
Friday's undulating stage seven concludes with a second-category summit finish at Montevergine di Mercogliano.
Giro d'Italia stage six: Final minute