Vuelta a Espaņa - Petacchi pips Cav in thriller
Eurosport - Fri, 03 Sep 16:45:00 2010
The peloton came together for a bunch sprint leaving two of the sport's best talents to battle it out for the win.
The Lampre rider went for the line 200 metres out and, despite Cavendish's efforts, beat the Manx Missile to the line.
It was tough luck on Cavendish, and his HTC-Colombia team-mates, who looked to be cruising on Petacchi's rear wheel before being boxed in by the barriers as the road narrowed.
Jorge Martin Montenegro (Andalucia-Cajasur), Martin Pedersen (Footon-Servetto), Dominik Roels (Team Milram) and Vladimir Isaichev (Xacobeo Galicia) led for much of the 187-kilometre stage but were caught with five kilometres to go.
Vuelta a Espaņa : Stage 7
The four riders broke away almost as soon as the main field rolled out of the neutral zone in Murcia.
The lead topped out at more than 10 minutes before the main field slowly dragged them back.
The only climb of the day was the category three Alto de Hondon 60 kilometres from the finish.
It did not pose any problems to any of the riders but did see the breakaway lose much of its impetus.
There were some nervous moments for the pursuing main field as the breakaway looked to hang onto its slender advantage but in the end it succumbed.
A notable withdrawal was that of Team Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni. He retired with 58 kilometres to go, citing the food poisoning that has affected most of his team.
Cavendish will take some comfort that he now leads the points competition ahead of Tyler Farrar and Friday's conqueror Petacchi.
Saturday's stage eight will see the riders negotiate 190 kilometres between Villena and Xorret de Cati.
Philippe Gilbert retains the overall lead.
The Vuelta finishes in Madrid on September 19.Mark Applin / Eurosport