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Giro d'Italia stage two winner Robbie McEwen was quick to thank his team for their support during Sunday's stage, which was always likely be the most suitable for the Australian to win in his Davitamon team's Belgian homeland. It was Belgian-based McEwen's seventh win of the season, and underlined that his preparations for the Tour de France are back on track after he suffered a couple of broken ribs at the Three Days of West Flanders in March.
McEwen appeared on the victory podium with son, Ewan, who celebrates his fourth birthday on Wednesday, but dedicated the win to nine-week-old daughter Elena. "Every year I win a stage or two of the Giro for my son, but this one is for my daughter," said McEwen, who was also quick to praise his team-mates.
"Once again they have worked magnificently and for a team that spent the spring under black cloud this is really a deliverance," said the Davitamon sprinter. Several of my team-mates, such as Kuyckx, Roesems and Van Hecke, are riding just their first or second major tour, but they have still done the work required of them without any problem."
McEwen described the "perfect" sprint from his point of viewing, saying: "All went well up to 200 metres out when [Alessandro] Petacchi, seeing me on his wheel, hesitated. I was a bit boxed in but [Olaf] Pollack cleared a path by starting the sprint. I didn't hesitate in following him and as there was a gap [by the barriers] I slipped into it. There were no problems from then on."
McEwen has a good record at the Giro, but always pulls out of the race during the second week before the most mountainous stages. This year his plan is no different, and his victory certainly takes the pressure off him and his team. After his victory, McEwen was quick to hand as much pressure as he could to Petacchi, who looked out of sorts on Sunday despite an apparently perfect lead-out from his Milram team-mates. McEwen said he thought the Italian looked nervous and did not react when he needed to. With few sprinting opportunities available on this year's Giro, Petacchi needs to get his act together fast.
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