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Stage win for 23 year-old in Tirreno-Adriatico

Riccò on the podium

Riccò on the podium (Image credit: Sirotti)

Riccardo Riccò, the young Italian riding for the Saunier Duval-Prodir squad took his second victory of the year in the third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, holding off big names like Alexander Vinokourov and Andreas Klöden. Riccò also won the fourth stage of the Tour de San Luis earlier this year.

Riccò, Tirreno-Adriatico overall leader 24 year-old Alexandre Arekeev (Acqua & Sapone), and the leader on the road for 164 kilometres of stage three, 23 year-old Dimitri Champion (Bouygues Telecom) represent a new generation of talented young stars who are outshining their elders in the Italian ProTour event.

Arekeev lost a little time on the difficult run-in, and held a 21 second lead over Riccò in the general classification at the end of the stage. Sitting in third just ahead of Alexander Vinokourov is a surprising name - Rabobank sprinter Oscar Freire.

Freire did well to climb with the leaders, finishing in the front group, but couldn't quite pull out the win. "The finale was a little too difficult for Oscar," said Rabobank director Erik Breukink after the stage. "[There were] a couple of very steep parts on that final climb. He, therefore, had used too much of his energy, which made it hard for him to fight for the stage victory."

Breukink noted that Thomas Dekker and Michael Boogerd seem to have recovered from their crashes on stage one. "We can leave that behind us now. We will start the decisive phase with a strong and sharp team."

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