Julien El Farès of Cofidis won the first stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico Wednesday in Capannori, Italy. The Frenchman out-sprinted his breakaway companion Ukrainian Vladimir Duma (Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce) at the end of the 147-kilometre day, finishing just seconds ahead of the main group led by Daniele Bennati (Liquigas).
El Farès scored the only other win of his professional career while riding as a trainee for Cofidis in 2006, when he won stage one of the Tour des Pyrénées over Yann Huguet and wore the leader's jersey for one day.
El Farès duplicated that feat on a much larger stage in Tirreno-Adriatico, and will wear the overall leader's blue jersey in tomorrow's 177-kilometre stage from Volterra to Marina di Carrara.
Team Liquigas looked to have the race in control for its sprinter Bennati on the climb of Valgiano. El Farès held 1:57 on the bunch at the top with Duma slightly off the pace, and with 16 kilometres to race it looked as though the sprinters would have their day. But the pair up front came back together and worked to hold 1:10 with five kilometres to go.
"I went to the front in the finale, and the other sprinters' teams tired to help. Today was my chance and it was a shame to throw it away," said Bennati to Rai. "I am upset to that I could not win given the great guys – Basso, Nibali and Pellizotti – who were all pulling for me."
For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.