Petacchi wins the sprint in Parma

Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-ISD) let the Giro d'Italia peloton know he's still a force to be reckoned with on sprint stages as the 37-year-old Italian triumphed in Parma. Petacchi edged Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) in the field sprint finale, with Manuel Belletti (Colnago-CSF Inox) rounding out the top three after 244km in the saddle.

Cavendish, however, was irate with Petacchi as they crossed the finish line and angrily gesticulated his arm at the Italian. The Manxman felt that Petacchi didn't hold his line in the final 200m, but the race jury upheld the finishing order.

Petacchi dismissed Cavendish's complaints that he changed direction three times during the sprint.

"I don't think I did anything wrong in the sprint. When you see someone coming up you go looking for him and I moved a bit, but I didn't do anything wrong. But I apologise if I did," Petacchi said.

"To be honest, the only thing that I noticed is that when I saw him coming up before the sprint, I let him pass along the barriers. I could have closed the door but I didn't."

The record books show that this was Petacchi's 22nd Giro stage victory but he insisted this was his 27th win.

"They took five wins off me in 2007 (when he later tested positive for an excessive use of asthma medication). But I won them, so I count them. This win is for my son (Alessandro Junior). It's his third birthday on Tuesday and I'm sure he was watching me sprint today.

"I also want to thank Danilo Hondo. He's a great pro and showed it again. He's got an extra gear in the lead-outs."

While Cavendish missed out on the stage win, he was rewarded with the maglia rosa as the Manxman took over the general classification lead from HTC-Highroad teammate Marco Pinotti. Cavendish began the day tied on time with Pinotti following their triumph in stage one's team time trial and time bonuses at the finish line moved him into the overall lead. Cavendish now leads teammates Kanstantsin Sivtsov and Craig Lewis, second and third respecively overall, by 12 seconds. Pinotti drops to fourth, also 12 seconds off the pace.

Talking on Italian television after the stage, Cavendish insisted he was happy to have pulled on the maglia rosa but was not happy with the way Petacchi changed his line in the sprint.

"I'm happy to have the maglia rosa after a hard stage for the team. Petacchi is a good guy but in the last 200 metres he moved three times. The judges usually relegate someone when they do that."

Petacchi and Cavendish shook hands but Petacchi insisted he hadn't done anything wrong.

"I don't understand what I've done wrong," Petacchi said. "I went on the left and he went on the right. I moved slightly but he wasn't next to me. I didn't put him into the barriers because I was ahead of him."

Lang goes long

The man of the day, however, was Sebastian Lang of Omega Pharma-Lotto as the German time trial specialist took off on a lengthy solo break on the longest stage of this year's race. Lang attacked after only three kilometres and on this sunny, warm day built up a lead of nearly 20 minutes.

Lang, 31, came into the second stage only 22 seconds behind maglia rosa wearer Marco Pinotti (HTC-Highroad), but the peloton was happy enough to let him go and took it a bit easy on the day's 244km trek.

Inevitably, though, the hours of solitary effort in the race lead wore on the German as the peloton ground its way in pursuit. With 50km to go, the gap had dropped to approximately four minutes.

Pinotti flatted just before the day's only intermediate sprint, but was easily able to catch back up. Lang crossed the sprint line in Salsomaggiore Terme first, with Wouter Weylandt (Leopard Trek) and Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto) battling it out over the bonus seconds for second and third.

The gap continued to come down as Lang and the field took on the day's only climb, a category four ascent at Tabiano Castello with 33.6km remaining. The German crested the summit with a 1:32 advantage over the peloton and for his efforts would claim the mountains classification lead.

At this point Lang simply wanted his extended solo jaunt to come to an end as he soft-pedaled and tried to shake the cramps out of his legs. That end came with 26.2km to go, after the Omega Pharma-Lotto German had tallied 215km on his own.

Final push to Parma

Immediately after Lang's capture, Leonardo Giordani (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) launched an attack and was soon joined by Michal Golas (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto). A few minutes later Ruggero Marzoli (Acqua & Sapone), Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step), Daniele Righi (Lampre-ISD), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) and Ivan Rovny (RadioShack) bridged to the lead trio to form an eight-man escape.

The break pushed out a lead of 30 seconds, but were no match for a peloton hungry for a field sprint finale to the day's action. Vorganov crashed out of the break with 10km remaining which seemed to disrupt their rhythm, and the catch was made with 8.3km to go.

Various sprinters' teams contributed to the pace-making until the Garmin-Cervélo squad took the reins 1.5km from the finish line. The US team's sprinter, Tyler Farrar, was positioned behind three teammates with Brazil's Murilo Fischer, in his national champion's jersey, tasked as the final lead-out rider.

As the peloton took a sweeping right hand turn with 700m to go, Lampre-ISD overtook Garmin-Cervélo at the head of the peloton with Alessandro Petacchi glued to the wheel of his German lead-out man Danilo Hondo.

HTC-Highroad's Mark Renshaw soon passed the Lampre-ISD duo with teammate Mark Cavendish in tow setting up the drag race to the line from 200m out. As Renshaw completed his lead-out of Cavendish, Petacchi jumped to the right to pass Cavendish and a fading Renshaw. Cavendish accelerated to the left and closed on Petacchi but fell several centimetres shy of topping the Italian at the finish.

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Full Results
1Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre - ISD5:45:40
2Mark Cavendish (Gbr) HTC-HighroadRow 1 - Cell 2
3Manuel Belletti (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 2 - Cell 2
4Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 3 - Cell 2
5Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 5 - Cell 2
7Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 6 - Cell 2
8Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team RadioShackRow 7 - Cell 2
9Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard TrekRow 8 - Cell 2
10Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 9 - Cell 2
11Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Fabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 11 - Cell 2
13Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 12 - Cell 2
14Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 13 - Cell 2
15Dennis Van Winden (Ned) RabobankRow 14 - Cell 2
16Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 16 - Cell 2
18Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin-CerveloRow 17 - Cell 2
19Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Leopard TrekRow 18 - Cell 2
20Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 19 - Cell 2
21Mark Renshaw (Aus) HTC-HighroadRow 20 - Cell 2
22Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team AstanaRow 21 - Cell 2
23Dario Cataldo (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Michael Barry (Can) Sky ProcyclingRow 23 - Cell 2
25Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 24 - Cell 2
26Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 25 - Cell 2
27David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Brice Feillu (Fra) Leopard TrekRow 27 - Cell 2
29Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 28 - Cell 2
30Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShackRow 29 - Cell 2
31Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 30 - Cell 2
32Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 31 - Cell 2
33Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 33 - Cell 2
35Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team AstanaRow 35 - Cell 2
37Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Russell Downing (Gbr) Sky ProcyclingRow 37 - Cell 2
39Sacha Modolo (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 38 - Cell 2
40Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team RadioShackRow 40 - Cell 2
42Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-HighroadRow 41 - Cell 2
43Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 43 - Cell 2
45Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & SaponeRow 44 - Cell 2
46Vladimir Miholjevic (Cro) Acqua & SaponeRow 45 - Cell 2
47Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky ProcyclingRow 46 - Cell 2
48Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 47 - Cell 2
49Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 48 - Cell 2
50Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Leopard TrekRow 49 - Cell 2
51Andrea Noe (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri SottoliRow 50 - Cell 2
52Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Tiago Machado (Por) Team RadioShackRow 52 - Cell 2
54Robert Hunter (RSA) Team RadioShackRow 53 - Cell 2
55Mauricio Ardila Cano (Col) Geox-TMCRow 54 - Cell 2
56Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 55 - Cell 2
57Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Leopard TrekRow 56 - Cell 2
58Craig Lewis (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 57 - Cell 2
59Kevin Seeldrayers (Bel) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Davide Malacarne (Ita) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 60 - Cell 2
62Addy Engels (Ned) Quickstep Cycling TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 62 - Cell 2
64Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-HighroadRow 63 - Cell 2
65Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Leopard TrekRow 64 - Cell 2
66Yuriy Krivtsov (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 65 - Cell 2
67Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 66 - Cell 2
68Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
69Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 68 - Cell 2
70Dario David Cioni (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 69 - Cell 2
71Kjell Carlström (Fin) Sky ProcyclingRow 70 - Cell 2
72Bruno Pires (Por) Leopard TrekRow 71 - Cell 2