Controversy as McEwen takes win & jersey over boxed-in Petacchi
Australian Davitamon-Lotto rider Robbie McEwen took a perfectly-calculated victory in the second stage of the Giro d'Italia, coming round Jaan Kirsipuu in the final 100 metres as Fassa Bortolo's lead-out train struggled unsuccessfully to get their man Alessandro Petacchi into position.
It was an unexpected ending to what should have been a textbook Petacchi victory to close a stage that saw the usual early escape recaptured with 25km to go. But Alessandro Petacchi was not happy with the situation, and accused McEwen and Kirsipuu of collaboration to deny him the win.
"You could see that McEwen and Kirsipuu had agreed to get me off the wheel of my lead out man Marco Velo," Petacchi told the press after the finish. "I wanted to win the sprint but perhaps all my success of the last few years annoys some people and so perhaps the other sprinters have created a coalition against me."
McEwen denied the charge. "There was no conspiracy," he said. "Everybody can say what they want but [Julian] Dean and Kirsipuu were riding their own sprint as far as I know. I saw them move up and they make a good tandem so I gambled and I decided to follow them. Kirsipuu went early and so gave me an armchair ride to the finish."