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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 May 2007, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Petacchi takes Giro seventh stage
Alessandro Petacchi
Petacchi powered to victory after a thrilling sprint finish
Italy's Alessandro Petacchi, of Team Milram, won the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia from Spoleto to Scarperia on Saturday.

Petacchi beat Norway's Thor Hushovd and Italian compatriot Paolo Bettini in a thrilling sprint finish on the Mugello motor racing circuit.

Italy's Marco Pinotti retained the overall race lead.

Sunday's 200km eighth stage is from Barberino di Mugello to Fiorano Modenese, near Bologna.

It was the 21st stage win in the Giro for Petacchi and his second in this year's race after his victory in Monday's third stage.

Today I felt really strong, even on the climb

Alessandro Petacchi

Italy's Salvatore Commesso led the attack until 3km from the line with Swiss world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara pulling ahead with 1,200 metres to go.

But he was caught 300m from the line and in the sprint finale Petacchi managed to hold off Hushovd.

"Today I felt really strong, even on the climb," said Petacchi.

"I didn't think I could win such a long stage. My team did a great job and I want to dedicate this win to one of our team members Marco Velo, who missed the Giro because of injury."

The victory makes Petacchi the 10th rider to win more than 20 stages in this race. Mario Cipollini is the all-time record holder with 42 stage wins.

Petacchi has now amassed 42 stage wins in the three grand tours which ranks him third in the list of riders with most stages wins in each of the major tours.

The Italian sprinter has now overtaken Bernard Hinault, who collected 41 stage wins in the Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta combined.

Hushovd, meanwhile said: "I really pushed on the climb 50km from the line. I used up the energy I needed to win."



SEE ALSO
Laverde grabs Giro stage victory
18 May 07 |  Cycling
McEwen pips Bettini to stage win
13 May 07 |  Cycling
Liquigas snatch Giro time-trial
12 May 07 |  Cycling


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