Petacchi hanging in there

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Milram's Alessandro Petacchi is having a hard time following the rhythm of the peloton through the Vuelta a España. For the Italian super sprinter, who broke his knee at the beginning of the Giro d'Italia this year, it's his first ProTour race again, and he hopes to be able to use it to get into shape for the end of the season. "I suffered all day because of the heat," Petacchi said after Sunday's stage two, "and because of a race rhythm I clearly don't have. I can only get better."

Hence his decision not to participate in the bunch sprint, won by Paolo Bettini. Petacchi's teammate Erik Zabel did go for the stage win, but he finished only tenth. "Everybody who came from behind in the last 500 metres had an enormous advantage," Zabel commented. "My team mates have done good work. When I came out of Velo's wheel the other guys passed me at double speed."

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