Petacchi wins Paris-Tours

Great end to nightmare season

Italian sprint ace Alessandro Petacchi of the Milram team won the 101st edition of the Pro Tour Paris-Tours classic over 256km on Sunday.

Led out by his German team-mate Eric Zabel, Petacchi edged compatriot Francesco Chicchi in the final sprint.

Former three-time world champion Oscar Freire of Spain was third after being impeded in the sprint with Dutchman Steven De Jongh and Australians Allan Davis and Robbie McEwen finishing next.

Petacchi paid tribute to his German team-mate Zabel, who beat him into second in 2003 when they were on opposing teams.

"Erik did an incredible job in the final sprint. In the end, I'm basically glad he beat me in 2003," said Petacchi.

"I made the mistake of setting off too early in the sprint and I seized up in the final 50m. I learnt my lesson and this time I set off at just the right time.

"To win in this way, with him (Zabel) leading me out, it's as if I won twice. After Milan-Sanremo it's my best victory."

Petacchi also took time to reflect on a badly disrupted season in which he was cleared of doping despite returning a non-negative result for the Asthma drug Salbutamol.

He was later cleared of doping by the Italian Cycling Federation, who put the result down to human error, although the Italian Olympic Committee has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"This season has been the most difficult of my career," said Petacchi. "It began badly with my broken knee last year.

"After the Giro (Tour of Italy in June) other problems started (the doping suspicion). I went through every stage of suffering, even though I won two stages at (September's) Vuelta (Tour of Spain).

"Finally, without a doubt, it's today that I've had my best day of the year."

This, the penultimate Pro Tour race of the season, began at altitude for the first three hours of racing as the sprinters' teams controlled the pace.

There were several breakaway attempts, the last of which, involving Belgian Philippe Gilbert, Karsten Kroon of the Netherlands and Italy's Filippo Pozzato made the most of a slight climb to jump off the front 8km from the end and held a lead of 20sec inside the final 3km but they were hunted down in the final kilometre.

In claiming the final sprint, Petacchi won his second big classic after Milan-Sanremo in 2005.

Italian Tour of Italy champion and former Pro Tour winner Danilo Di Luca still leads the Pro Tour standings from Australia's Cadel Evans and Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

Results

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita|Team Milram) 5:32:37  
2 Francesco Chicchi (Ita|Liquigas)    
3 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa|Rabobank)    
4 Steven De Jongh (Ned|Quick.Step - Innergetic)    
5 Allan Davis (Aus|Discovery Channel)    
6 Robbie McEwen (Aus|Predictor - Lotto)    
7 Alexandre Usov (Blr|AG2R Prévoyance)    
8 Thor Hushovd (Nor|Crédit Agricole)    
9 Aurélien Clerc (Swi|Bouygues Telecom)    
10 Romain Feillu (Fra|Agritubel)    
11 Erik Zabel (Ger|Team Milram)    
12 Gert Steegmans (Bel|Quick.Step - Innergetic)    
13 Carlos Da Cruz (Fra|Française des Jeux)    
14 Saïd Haddou (Fra|Bouygues Telecom)    
15 Leonardo Duque (Col|Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone)    
16 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita|Liquigas)    
17 Evert Verbist (Bel|Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen)    
18 Kenny De Haes (Bel|Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen)    
19 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel|Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen)    
20 Luciano André Pagliarini Mendonca (Bra|Saunier Duval - Prodir)    
21 Sven Krauss (Ger|Gerolsteiner)    
22 Manuele Mori (Ita|Saunier Duval - Prodir)    
23 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Fra|Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone)    
24 Murilo Fischer (Bra|Liquigas)    
25 Peter Wrolich (Aut|Gerolsteiner)    
26 Javier Benitez Pomares (Spa|Benfica)    
27 Philippe Gilbert (Bel|Française des Jeux)    
28 Freddy Bichot (Fra|Agritubel)    
29 Inaki Isasi (Spa|Euskaltel-Eusksadi)    
30 Sven Renders (Bel|Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen)    
31 Daniel Musiol (Ger|Team Wiesenhof Felt)    
32 Martin Elmiger (Swi|AG2R Prévoyance)    
33 Jesus Del Nero (Spa|Saunier Duval - Prodir)    
34 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe|Team CSC)    
35 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa|Caisse d'Epargne)    
36 Piet Rooijakkers (Ned|Skil - Shimano)    
37 Alexandre Pichot (Fra|Bouygues Telecom)    
38 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa|Caisse d'Epargne)    
39 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa|Euskaltel - Euskadi)    
40 Danilo Napolitano (Ita|Lampre - Fondital)    
41 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa|Euskaltel - Euskadi)    
42 Erki Pütsep (Est|Bouygues Telecom)    
43 Björn Leukemans (Bel|Predictor - Lotto)    
44 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor|Team CSC)    
45 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel|Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone)    
46 Jan Kuyckx (Bel|Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner)    
47 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned|Skil - Shimano)    
48 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel|Predictor - Lotto)    
49 Hugo Sabido (Por|Barloworld)    
50 Vladimir Gusev (Rus|Discovery Channel)    
51 Allan Johansen (Den|Team CSC)    
52 Floris Goesinnen (Ned|Skil - Shimano)    
53 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra|AG2R Prévoyance)    
54 Jérémy Roy (Fra|Française des Jeux)    
55 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra|Française des Jeux)    
56 Mathieu Perget (Fra|Caisse d'Epargne)    
57 Frédéric Amorison (Bel|Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner)    
58 Tristan Valentin (Fra|Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone)    
59 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa|Caisse d'Epargne)    
60 Robert Retschke (Ger|Team Wiesenhof Felt)    
61 José Ivan Gutierrez (Spa|Caisse d'Epargne)    
62 Vincent Jérôme (Fra|Bouygues Telecom)    
63 Marc De Maar (Ned|Rabobank)    
64 Roy Sentjens (Ned|Predictor - Lotto)    
65 Preben Van Hecke (Bel|Predictor - Lotto)    
66 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat|Saunier Duval - Prodir)    
67 Nico Sijmens (Bel|Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner)    
68 Anthony Geslin (Fra|Bouygues Telecom)    
69 Fabian Cancellara (Swi|Team CSC)    
70 Sébastien Hinault (Fra|Crédit Agricole)    
71 Damien Monier (Fra|Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone)    
72 Gerben Löwik (Ned|Rabobank)    
73 Paolo Bossoni (Ita|Lampre - Fondital)    
74 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned|Skil - Shimano)    
75 Sébastien Minard (Fra|Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone)    
76 Renaud Dion (Fra|AG2R Prévoyance)    
77 Johan Coenen (Bel|Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen)    
78 Arnaud Gérard (Fra|Française des Jeux)    
79 Maxime Monfort (Bel|Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone)    
80 Cédric Vasseur (Fra|Quick.Step - Innergetic)    
81 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr|AG2R Prévoyance)    
82 Filippo Pozzato (Ita|Liquigas)    
83 Wouter Weylandt (Bel|Quick.Step - Innergetic)    
84 Christophe Riblon (Fra|AG2R Prévoyance) 0:00:07  
85 Karsten Kroon (Ned|Team CSC) 0:00:16  
86 Niki Terpstra (Ned|Team Milram)    
87 Mark Renshaw (Aus|Crédit Agricole) 0:00:19  
88 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa|Rabobank) 0:00:20  
89 Mathew Hayman (Aus|Rabobank)    
90 Sebastiaan Langeveld (Ned|Rabobank)    
91 Alberto Ongarato (Ita|Team Milram) 0:00:22  
92 Marco Velo (Ita|Team Milram) 0:00:40  
93 Claudio Corioni (Ita|Lampre - Fondital) 0:00:44  
94 Benoît Sinner (Fra|Agritubel)    
95 Volker Ordowski (Ger|Gerolsteiner)    
96 Nicolas Rousseau (Fra|AG2R Prévoyance) 0:00:48  
97 Juan José Oroz (Spa|Euskaltel-Euskadi)    
98 Frederik Willems (Bel|Liquigas) 0:00:52  
99 Aart Vierhouten (Ned|Skil - Shimano)    
100 Jonathan Hivert (Fra|Crédit Agricole) 0:01:18  
101 Johan Van Summeren (Bel|Predictor - Lotto) 0:01:33  
102 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun|Crédit Agricole) 0:01:40  
103 Aivaras Baranauskas (Ltu|Agritubel)    
104 Pavel Padrnos (Cze|Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team)    
105 Sjef De Wilde (Bel|Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner) 0:02:18  
106 Thomas Fothen (Ger|Gerolsteiner)    
107 Matti Breschel (Den|Team CSC)    
108 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned|Gerolsteiner) 0:02:51  
109 Roberto Longo (Ita|Lampre-Fondital)    
110 Christophe Mengin (Fra|Française des Jeux)    
111 Matthew Goss (Aus|Team CSC)    
112 Oscar Gatto (Ita|Gerolsteiner)    
113 Fabio Baldato (Ita|Lampre - Fondital)    
114 Wilfried Cretskens (Bel|Quick.Step - Innergetic)    
115 Lars Ytting Bak (Den|Team CSC)    
116 Thomas Voeckler (Fra|Bouygues Telecom)    
117 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel|Quick.Step - Innergetic) 0:03:35  
118 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel|Quick.Step - Innergetic)    
119 Maarten Wynants (Bel|Quick.Step - Innergetic)    
120 Joost Posthuma (Ned|Rabobank) 0:04:15  
121 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita|Lampre - Fondital) 0:04:37  
122 Manuel Quinziato (Ita|Liquigas)    
123 Steven Cummings (GBr|Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team)    
124 Daniele Righi (Ita|Lampre - Fondital) 0:06:37  
125 Brian Vandborg (Den|Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) 0:07:01  
126 Robert Förster (Ger|Gerolsteiner) 0:08:26  
127 Matteo Bono (Ita|Lampre - Fondital)    
128 David Boucher (Fra|Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner) 0:09:07  
129 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra|Crédit Agricole) 0:11:45  
130 Aleksandr Kuchynski (Blr|Liquigas)    
131 Kenny Van Hummel (Ned|Skil - Shimano)    
132 Christophe Kern (Fra|Crédit Agricole)    

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