Stage 1: Rotterdam - Brussels 224km

By AFP

Sunday, July 4, 2010 5.30pm

Cancellara retains yellow jersey

Italian Alessandro Petacchi, riding for the Lampre team, won the first stage of the 2010 Tour de France in spectacular fashion today, with Swiss Saxo Bank rider Fabian Cancellara retaining the leader's yellow jersey after yesterday's prologue victory.

Petacchi, making his first appearance at the race in more than five years, upset predictions when he finished a reduced bunch sprint ahead of Australian Mark Renshaw and Norwegian Thor Hushovd.

Numerous crashes occurred in the closing kilometres of the 223.5km ride from Rotterdam to Brussels, leaving some of the top favourites for stage victory out of the running.

Spanish fast man Oscar Freire, of Rabobank, was brought down along with Cervelo's Jeremy Hunt when the Briton took a wrong turn on a tight bend with two kilometres to go. Another massive crash with just a kilometre to go reduced the peloton further.

British sprint king Mark Cavendish, the winner of six stages last year, was among the big names also left out of contention, leaving his lead-out man Renshaw to go it alone.

After the carnage, Petacchi produced a thrill when he tried to shake his followers by pulling sharply to the left side of the road. Seconds later he came over the finish line in victory, and later refused to accept it was devalued by the relative lack of quality in the final bunch.

"It wasn't unexpected for me. I'm here to sprint and win stages, and to do my best and that's what I did," said the Italian, who last appeared on the race in 2004 when he pulled out before the sixth stage. "Of course Cavendish and I are sure to sprint against each other, but even if he hadn't been caught up in a crash who's to say I wouldn't have won. I think I did a great sprint."

Cancellara took the yellow jersey yesterday when he won the race's opening prologue over 8.9km in Rotterdam. But the Olympic time trial champion paid his own price for staying up at the front of a chaotic and "nervous" bunch in his bid to keep hold of the race lead for as long as possible. The Saxo Bank man had to brake hard to avoid a fallen rider, but still hit the asphalt.

"At the end I couldn't do anything. I had to brake hard, and ended up doing a bit of a somersault once I landed," said Cancellara, who admitted he was slowly starting to feel the pain of his tumble. "Now with the time passing I feel like my shoulder and my whole left side are hurting."

Because the first half of the stage was held along the North Sea coast, some teams were expected to use the strong coastal winds to race hard in a bid to break up the peloton and put time into their rivals.

That failed to materialise, as a three-man break consisting of Dutchman Lars Boom, Belgian Maarten Wynants and Spaniard Alan Perez went on an early breakaway which came to an end in the final 25km.

In the end, the "millions" of people lining the roads from Rotterdam to Brussels seemed to play more of a factor than the wind. Cancellara added: "The wind was never really that significant a factor. I think some teams were expecting that to play a big role, and that only served to make a lot of guys nervous.

"But the roads were just madness with the amount of people. It was like that from the start. With that, the wind, a lot of turns and quite a bit of nervousness in the peloton I think maybe some guys lost their concentration."

© AFP 2010

For full results and more Tour de France coverage, visit www.cyclingnews.com.

STAGE 1 RESULTS

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 5:09:38  
2 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia    
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team    
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha    
5 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des Jeux    
6 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
7 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
8 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram    
9 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
10 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
11 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom    
12 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram    
13 Julien El Farès (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne    
14 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram    
15 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
16 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team HTC - Columbia    
17 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step    
18 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
19 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step    
20 Michael Barry (Can) Sky Professional Cycling Team    

Points

1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 35 pts  
2 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia 30  
3 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervelo Test Team 26  
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Team Katusha 24  
5 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des Jeux 22  
6 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo 20  
7 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 19  
8 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram 18  
9 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 17  
10 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 16  
11 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 15  
12 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram 14  
13 Julien El Farès (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit en Ligne 13  
14 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team Milram 12  
15 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 11  
16 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team HTC - Columbia 10  
17 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 9  
18 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team 8  
19 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Quick Step 7  
20 Michael Barry (Can) Sky Professional Cycling Team 6  

Sprint 1 - Zeeland Neeltje Jans - 73 Km

1 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 6 pts  
2 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 4  
3 Maarten Wijnants (Bel) Quick Step 2  

Sprint 2 - Putte (KAPELLEN) - 149.5 Km

1 Maarten Wijnants (Bel) Quick Step 6 pts  
2 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 4  
3 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 2  

Sprint 3 - Ekeren (ANVERS) - 158.5 Km

1 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 6 pts  
2 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 4  
3 Maarten Wijnants (Bel) Quick Step 2  

Teams

1 Team Radioshack 31:25:00  
2 Team HTC - Columbia 0:01:00  
3 Garmin - Transitions 0:02:00  
4 Sky Pro Cycling 0:16:00  
5 Astana 0:20:00  
6 Team Saxo Bank 0:22:00  
7 Caisse d'Epargne 0:28:00  
8 BMC Racing Team 0:30:00  
9 Liquigas-Doimo 0:36:00  
10 Team Milram    
11 Lampre - Farnese 0:57:00  
12 Rabobank 0:58:00  
13 Cervelo Test Team 1:02:00  
14 Francaise des Jeux    
15 Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne 1:03:00  
16 Quick Step 1:05:00  
17 Katusha Team    
18 AG2R La Mondiale 1:10:00  
19 Omega Pharma - Lotto 1:23:00  
20 Euskaltel - Euskadi 1:35:00  
21 Bbox Bouygues Telecom 1:43:00  
22 Footon-Servetto 1:57:00  

General classification after stage 1

1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team Saxo Bank 5:19:38  
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia 0:00:10  
3 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Transitions 0:00:20  
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack 0:00:22  
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:23  
6 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 0:00:27  
7 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Transitions 0:00:28  
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team Radioshack    
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:00:32  
10 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Team Milram 0:00:35  
11 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team    
12 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
13 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team Radioshack    
14 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia    
15 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:00:36  
16 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram    
17 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Team Radioshack    
18 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Caisse d'Epargne 0:00:38  
19 Alexander Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana    
20 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas-Doimo    

Tour de France Stages

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