Mark Cavendish retained the race leader's pink jersey after the Tour of Italy second stage. The Brit finished second behind Italy's Alessandro Petacchi (photo), who missed the Giro last year because of a doping suspension.
REUTERS - Italy's Alessandro Petacchi edged out race leader Mark Cavendish in a thrilling sprint finish to win the second stage of the Giro d'Italia on Sunday.
The LPR rider beat the Briton by a bike's length to complete the course in three hours 43 minutes and seven seconds.
The pair, both known for their sprinting abilities, had been the two favourites for the largely flat stage and they did not disappoint despite leaving their charges until late.
"It's been three days that I've been thinking how to beat Cavendish and I did it just how I imagined," the 35-year-old told reporters on the occasion of his son's first birthday.
"A kiss to my baby at home," added Petacchi, in seventh overall.
Italy's Leonardo Scarselli of the ISD team had made a solo break after nine kilometres of the 156-km route from Jesolo to Trieste but was caught by the group close to the end.
Seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, racing in his first Giro having recovered from a broken collarbone, was 42nd on the stage and lies a decent 10th in the general classification with Italian favourite Ivan Basso way back in 45th.
Germany's Matthias Russ of Team Milram suffered a fall and had to pull out of the race as he was taken away by ambulance.
Cavendish took the pink jersey after Saturday's first stage when his Team Columbia won the team time trial on Venice's Lido.
Monday's 198 km third stage from Grado to Valdobbiadene is another sprint through the north east of Italy.
Cycling eyes will also be on Rome on Monday where Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde, not racing in the Giro, goes before an Italian anti-doping tribunal charged with being involved in the Operacion Puerto drugs scandal.
Valverde and his lawyers have argued that the Italian authorities have no right to judge him and it is unclear if the Caisse d'Epargne rider will even attend the hearing.
Date created : 2009-05-10