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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Petacchi wins again
Alessandro Petacchi
The win was Petacchi's third in this year's race
Alessandro Petacchi won a sprint finish on Friday to take the seventh stage of the Vuelta in Spain.

It was the Italian's third stage triumph in Spain's premier cycling event, although Manuel Beltran of Spain retained the yellow jersey.

Fassa Bortolo rider Petacchi finished the route from Castellon to Valencia in three hours, 53 minutes and 4 seconds.

Germany's Erik Zabel was second and Spain's Oscar Freire third, both clocking the same time as Petacchi.

"I knew that Freire would be very keen to win after his victory on Thursday but after suffering early on now I am beginning to feel on top of my game," said Petacchi, who now has 11 Tour of Spain wins in his career.

"I asked my team mate Guido Trenti to accelerate up until 200 metres to go before I made my move, because today I wanted to try to win on pure strength."

A clutch of eight riders broke away over Friday's largely flat terrain and built up a lead of more than five minutes.

But the other teams closed the gap, and Petacchi triumphed to avenge his sprint-finish defeat by Freire on Thursday.

The 21-stage Vuelta ends on 26 September in Madrid.

Seventh stage result:
1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo, 3hrs 53mns 4secs
2. Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile, same time
3. Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank, same time
4. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis, same time
5. Luca Paolini (Ita) Quick Step, same time
6. Pedro Horrillo (Spa) Quick Step, same time
7. Giosue Bonomi (Ita) Saeco, same time
8. Andy Flickinger (Fra) AG2R, same time
9. Cristian Moreni (Ita) Alessio-Bianchi, same time
10.Miguel Angel M Perdiguero (Spa) Saunier Duval, same time

Overall standings:
1. Manuel Beltran (Sp) US Postal 26hrs 28mins 43secs
2. Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal same time
3. Denis Menchov (Rus) Illes Balears Banesto, 4 seconds
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Kelme, 9 seconds
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) T-Mobile, 16 seconds
6. Benoit Joachim (Lux) US Postal 23 seconds
7. Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears Banesto, 39 seconds
8. Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Kelme, 47 seconds
9. Victor Hugo Pena (Col) US Postal same time
10. Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak, 50 seconds




SEE ALSO
Freire clinches sixth stage
09 Sep 04  |  Cycling
Menchov claims fifth stage
08 Sep 04  |  Cycling
Petacchi wins Spain sprint
07 Sep 04  |  Cycling
Hamilton hails new Lance
07 Sep 04  |  Cycling
Valverde wins Vuelta stage
06 Sep 04  |  Cycling
Petacchi takes Vuelta stage
05 Sep 04  |  Cycling
US Postal on top in Vuelta
04 Sep 04  |  Cycling


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