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Page last updated at 17:13 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 18:13 UK

Petacchi grabs overall Giro lead

Alessandro Petacchi
Petacchi joined the LPR Brakes team in August 2008

Alessandro Petacchi captured his second successive stage victory to secure the overall lead in the Giro d'Italia.

The 35-year-old eclipsed Britain's Mark Cavendish to claim the 198km third stage, from Grado to Valdobbiadene.

Petacchi clocked four hours 45 minutes and 27 seconds after the lead changed several times in the final minutes, with Tyler Farrar finishing second.

A late crash divided the main pack and Cavendish was affected, so is now one minute 25 seconds behind the leader.

Cavendish made history on Sunday by becoming the first Briton to claim the leader's pink jersey.

The mainly flat course in north-east Italy was more suited to the sprinters, but the 23-year-old slipped back from the leading group.

A group of five riders including Italy's Giuseppe Palumbo and Mauro Facci had led for most of the way but were caught by the peloton after 163 km.

Petacchi made the most of the crash near the front of the peloton around 10km from home that created two groups and distanced many of his sprint rivals.

In the final sprint he surged three bike lengths clear of the field and the late charging American Farrar could not catch him.

The mountains section begins on Tuesday, with an uphill finish to San Martino di Castrozza following a 162-km ride starting in Padua.

The race culminates in Rome on 31 May.

Stage Three result:

1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita/Team LPR) 4hrs 45mins 27secs
2. Tyler Farrar (US/Garmin) Same time
3. Francesco Gavazzi (It/Lampre) "
4. Dario Cataldo (It/Quick-Step) "
5. Damiano Cunego (It/Lampre) "

Overall standings:

1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita/Team LPR) 8hrs 50mins 6secs
2. Tyler Farrar (US/Garmin) +8secs
3. Michael Rogers (Aus/Columbia) +18secs
4. Thomas Lovkvist (Swe/Columbia) Same time
5. Lance Armstrong (US/Astana) +31secs

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see also
Cavendish keeps overall Giro lead
10 May 09 |  Cycling
Cavendish nabs historic Giro lead
09 May 09 |  Cycling
Olympics not priority - Cavendish
04 May 09 |  Cycling
Armstrong expects Giro stage win
05 May 09 |  Cycling
Organisers unveil 2009 Giro route
15 Dec 08 |  Cycling
Armstrong opts to ride 2009 Tour
01 Dec 08 |  Cycling
Armstrong to make shock comeback
10 Sep 08 |  Cycling
Contador opts to miss 2009 Giro
28 Oct 08 |  Cycling
Contador claims historic Giro win
01 Jun 08 |  Cycling
Cavendish takes historic Giro win
23 May 08 |  Cycling
Cavendish secures Giro stage win
13 May 08 |  Cycling

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