Petacchi scores first blow against Boonen

We've had to wait three stages, but the Ruta del Sol finally saw a much-awaited bunch sprint between

We've had to wait three stages, but the Ruta del Sol finally saw a much-awaited bunch sprint between

PIC BY VUELTAANDALUCIA.COM

He may have been complaining of fatigue and lack of condition, but Alessandro Petacchi clearly isn't in quite as bad shape as he was making out, as he demonstrated today by winning the third stage of the Ruta del Sol in Cordoba.

Going head to head in a sprint with world champion Tom Boonen for the first time this season, the Milram sprinter finished a psychologically important two bike lengths ahead of the Belgian, who had won six of seven previous bunch sprints this year. Australians Graeme Brown and Baden Cooke were tucked in behind the big name pair, with Britain's Roger Hammond just behind them in fifth place.

There was no change in the overall lead as Cooke's Unibet.com team-mate Carlos Garcia Quesada maintained his narrow advantage on points over Kaiku's Rodrigo Garcia. Unlike the first two stages, the breaks that went clear were not allowed much leeway by the peloton, and the final seven riders were caught just before the final kilometre started as Petacchi and Boonen's trains revved the peloton's speed up.

Stage 3, Cabra-Cordoba

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram 174.1km in 3.52.58 (44.84kph)
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
3 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank
4 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.com
5 Roger Hammond (GB) Discovery Channel
6 Rodrigo Garcia (Spa) Kaiku
7 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Unibet.com.
8 Juan Olmo (Spa) Andalucia-Paul Versan
9 Marco Velo (Ita) Milram 0.04
10 I¤aki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel

Overall

1 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Unibet.com 12.11.02
2 Garcia
3 Adolfo Garcia Quesada (Spa) Andalucia-Paul Versan 0.07
4 Isasi 0.15
5 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Unibet.com 0.18
6 Jos-Adrian Bonilla (CRC) Comunitat Valenciana
7 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Saunier Duval
8 Manuel Lloret (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana 25.57
9 Santos Gonzalez (Spa) 3 Molinos Resort 26.07
10 Jesus Del Nero (Spa) 3 Molinos Resort 27.25

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