There was only a tyre width in it, but Robbie McEwen's extremely well-timed jump to get around Alessandro Petacchi to win stage 10 was one of his best victories. Petacchi got an almost perfect lead out in the last four kilometres of the twisty finishing circuit in Rossano Veneto, but when he came off Marco Velo's wheel with 250m to go, he wasn't fast enough to hold off McEwen who had glued himself to the super sprinter's wheel. Third place went to Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis), continuing the Aussie vs. Italian battle in this year's Giro. Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) enjoyed a quiet day in the maglia rosa, and will start in it in tomorrow's testing Dolomite stage to Zoldo Alto.
"I'm really happy", explained McEwen after his win. "It was a big win for us today, not just for me but for the whole team. Guys like Gates, Vogels, Vierhouten and Brandt, who were right at the front on the finishing circuit, which was a little dangerous."
Petacchi was clearly disappointed at the finish, losing the mind game to McEwen again: "I made a mistake. I started early because I was afraid that the Australian would anticipate me and ride his own line in the finishing curve," he said. At 250 metres, I was already in the lead and when McEwen came up next to me, I looked at him and lost my composure, losing 30-40 centimetres that cost me the win. I still thought I'd won, but his bike throw was better than mine."
The 10th stage between Ravenna and Rossano Veneto was otherwise uneventful, apart from a 70 km attack by Selle Italia's Rafaele Illiano that started just after the Intergiro with 100 km to go and finished under the 30 km to go banner. The sprinters teams took over from then on, with Fassa winning the battle to provide the final leadout. But once again, it was squandered.