Silver Train derails, while McEwen sails to second win
Today in Marina di Grosseto, Alessandro Petacchi only had his team-mates to blame, as a touch of wheels derailed the Fassa Bortolo Silver Train when they were going full steam ahead. And although unhurt, it was a sorry-looking sprinter from La Spezia crossing the line, who must have heard his nemesis Robbie McEwen (Davitamon) sailed home to his second stage win, rubbing salt in the wound.
At the start of today's stage in Viterbo, the 31 year-old Australian complained of strained hamstring from yesterday's difficult finale, but said he was still going to 'get amongst it', which is exactly what he did. First trying to set up his team-mate and friend Henk Vogels for the win, who came within a hair's breadth of winning, McEwen made it look all too easy when he knew Vogels was going to be caught just before the line.
Just after McEwen crossed the line, one of the first things he said was, "Did Henk get second, did Henk get second? I wanted him to win but they were catching him too quick. I was hoping he could stay away and win. He put in a big burst."
After the podium ceremony, Cyclingnews' John Trevorrow spoke to McEwen again, and he was glowing. "It's really great. I really wanted for Henk to win. I could even see the other Aussies stalling because no-one wanted to hit the front so early. When it came towards the 1100m mark before the corners I decided to let Henk go. I was in second wheel, so I just let the gap go. Henk looked back and he was clever enough to see what happened. He took the corners well, and he'd already been on the front for a while.
"Stuey [O'Grady] was behind me, he didn't want to close it because it would have ruined his sprint, everybody sort of swung across the road and he got a good gap. I thought 'he's going to get it, he's going to get it'. Then the Panaria guy went after him but he wasn't going to catch him, then Brett Lancaster got on the front for Grillo and that really brought the bunch up. I was sitting on the wheels, waiting, then the guy from Gerolsteiner went at about 400 metres. I was in his wheel, and I could feel the others starting to sprint behind me, and I knew I had to go. I was just trying to sprint to Henk at a speed that maybe he could stay away, but I could feel the others coming.
"It's a shame for him, it was a fantastic ride. But when you sprint, you've gotta go full on. The others followed me and he ended up fifth."