Post Stage Analysis
Petacchi Upsets Cavendish in Trieste
May 10 update: It was an upset victory in today's stage 2 of the Giro Centenario, as Italian Alessandro Petacchi beat out hot favorite Mark Cavendish for the stage win. Petacchi said after the stage that he had spend the last three days thinking about how to beat the British sprinter. "We have never raced head to head like this," he told RAI's Alessandra De Stefano. "I decided to accelerate from a long way out and I succeeded," he explained.
Petacchi sat third wheel behind Mark Renshaw and Pink Jersey Mark Cavendish. He jumped early for a long sprint. Petacchi does not have the acceleration of sprinters like Cavendish or Robbie McEwen, but once up to speed, his top end is unrivaled. Cavendish held the Italian's wheel to the line, but could not come around. Petacchi was especially happy to win today, as it is his son Alessandro's first birthday. "The team is riding very well, and I hope to win another big victory," he concluded.
Mark Cavendish looked distinctly disappointed with his second place finish, and appeared surprised at the line that he had not won. He said afterwards that the team delivered him perfectly to 200 meters to go, but he could not come around Petacchi. "I let my team down. I lost because I was too lazy," he said, before wishing his mom a happy mother's day. Cavendish, nonetheless, retains the pink jersey of race leader. Ben Swift of Katusha finished third, then, Allan Davis of Quick-Step, Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Slipstream, and Oscar Gatto of ISD.
Small Time Losses for Leipheimer and Basso
A crash inside the last 5 kilometers delayed a few of the favorites for the general classification, including Levi Leipheimer and Ivan Basso. Leipheimer currently sits 40 seconds down in the general classification, while Basso is at 1.07. According to post-race reports, a couple of riders crossed wheels and caused the delay. Basso's DS at Liquigas took the loss philosophically saying, "cycling involves the unexpected."
Abandons Only one rider has left the race thus far, Mattias Russ of Team Milram, who crashed en route.
The Road to Valdobbiadene
Tomorrow's stage finish is more complicated, with two climbs inside the final 20 kilometers and an uphill finish. The riders for the general classification will need to ride at the front, and stay out of trouble. Fortunately, the roads look wide and easy to navigate. RAI commentator Davide Cassani, who previewed the course, said the climbs are not easy, but probably aren't sufficient to create a selection. The descent is wide open, and not at all technical. The terrain is rolling vineyard country, home of the Prosecco wine. Lampre rider Marzio Bruseghin also lives in the neighborhood. He raises donkeys.
The final climb of the day is short and fairly steep. Cavendish will not enjoy this finish, and there is the potential for small time gaps to open up here. On RAI's post-race show, the consensus held that Alessandro Petacchi could win tomorrow. But it is also a finish that could suit a rider like Danilo Diluca. Oscar Gatto said that he liked the looks of the finish and it would suit him better than today's flat run-in. Philippe Gilbert, FIlippo Pozzato, and Enrico Gasparotto attempted to anticipate the sprint today, without succeess. Look for them to try again on tomorrow's more difficult finish. It should be an exciting finale.
Stage 2: Jesolo-Trieste
Beaches are the theme of the first two days of the Giro Centenario, and this stage 2 picks up where the prologue began. The stage begins in Jesolo, a vacation spot known for its nearly 15 kilometers of sandy beaches. The course travels North from Jesolo following the coastline as it curves East toward the border with Slovenia. It finishes in the port city of Trieste in the Piazza Unità d’Italia.
The grand tours have long served the symbolic purpose of knitting together disparate national regions and celebrating national identity. At various times, Austria, the former Yugoslavia, and Italy have claimed ownership to Trieste, the finishing city of Stage 2, and the population remains ethnically mixed. After World War II, Yugloslav forces under Marshal Tito occupied Trieste and surrounding areas. Various diplomatic hijinx ensued, before Trieste returned to Italy in 1954. A year later, the Piazza Unità d’Italia received its name, which celebrates Italian unity, a fitting place to finish a stage of the Giro Centenario.
Profile Details. Back to the bike race, the profile for this stage could not be flatter. Around kilometer 100, the road rises approximately 40 meters. There is also a 90 meter climb in the finishing circuit, but it should not slow the riders down much. The bunch will complete the 11 kilometer circuit three times. The finish is flat, but follows a short descent.
Tactics Talk. No doubt an early break will escape to enliven the action and seek out some teevee time. Though the pink jersey team from the prologue crono may not want to work overly hard, the sprinters teams will be hot to take advantage of one of the few flat finishes. This Giro is not kind to the sprinters. Columbia-High Road with Mark Cavendish, LPR-Brakes with Alessandro Petacchi, and Garmin-Slipstream with Tyler Farrar will work to ensure the sprint finish. Expect a high speed finish and a sprint winner in Trieste.— Gavia (updates to this preview will be made during the race and especially the day before the stage with current analysis)