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Last Updated: Monday, 16 May, 2005, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Petacchi sprints to stage victory
Alessandro Petacchi
Petacchi timed sprint to perfection
Italy's Alessandro Petacchi won the 139km ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia from Florence to Ravenna on Monday.

The Fassa Bortolo rider beat compatriot Paolo Bettini and Swiss Aurelien Clerc in a sprint finish to claim his first stage victory in this year's Giro.

Danilo Di Luca retained the overall lead, nine seconds ahead of Ivan Basso and 35 seconds up on Paolo Savoldelli.

Tuesday is a rest day ahead of Wednesday's 212-km 10th stage from Ravenna to Rossano Veneto near Venice.

Two riders - Germany's Sven Krauss and Mads Christensen of Denmark - broke away for 123km before being caught by the main group with less than 20km to go.

Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo team organized its 'train' perfectly for the sprint, which was contested on a final kilometre of completely straight road.

Petacchi ordered team-mate Marco Velo to peel away with 200m to go and took care of the rest himself.

"I always believed in the team. It's not easy to have great sprints every time," said Petacchi, who set a record of nine stage wins in last year's Giro.


Stage nine result:
1. Alessandro Petacchi (Italy / Fassa Bortolo) 3hrs 15mins 32s
2. Paolo Bettini (Italy / Quick-Step) same time
3. Aurelien Clerc (Switzerland / Phonak) st
4. Robbie McEwen (Australia / Davitamon - Lotto) st
5. Erik Zabel (Germany / T-Mobile) st
6. Paride Grillo (Italy / Panaria) st
7. Isaac Galvez (Spain / Illes Balears) st
8. Robert Foerster (Germany / Gerolsteiner) st
9. Andrea Moletta (Italy / Gerolsteiner) st
10. Simone Cadamuro (Italy / Domina Vacanze) st

Overall standings:
1. Danilo Di Luca (Italy / Liquigas) 39hrs 22mins 19s
2. Ivan Basso (Italy / Team CSC) +9"
3. Paolo Savoldelli (Italy / Discovery Channel) +35"
4. Damiano Cunego (Italy / Lampre - Caffita) +1:15"
5. Dario Cioni (Italy / Liquigas) +1:27"
6. Stefano Garzelli (Italy / Liquigas) +1:35"
7. Marzio Bruseghin (Italy / Fassa Bortolo) +1:38"
8. Sergei Gontchar (Ukraine / Domina Vacanze) +1:39"
9. Markus Fothen (Germany / Gerolsteiner) +2:10"
10. Gilberto Simoni (Italy / Lampre - Caffita) +2:11"



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