Petacchi breaks drought

Italian sprinter too good in Algemesi

Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, of the Milram team, won the 11th stage of the Tour of Spain on Wednesday, a 191km race from Oropesa to Algemesi which ended in a bunch sprint. Russian Denis Menchov, of Rabobank, retained the race leader's yellow jersey.

Petacchi came over the finish line a bike length ahead of fellow Italian and world champion Paolo Bettini, of Quick Step, with his teammate Erik Zabel finishing in third place.

The Italian winner's job was made all the more easy with the absence of Spanish sprinter Oscar Freire, who pulled out of the race Monday having won three stages in the first week.

Menchov retained his 2min 1sec lead over compatriot Vladimir Efimkin, who rides for the Caisse d'Epargne team. Australian Cadel Evans, the runner-up in this year's Tour de France, is third at 2:27 with Spaniard Carlos Sastre, of CSC, in fourth at 3:O2.

The following two stages of the race are relatively flat and unlikely to change the general classification significantly. Stage 14, however, features a total of four climbs and is likely to see some battles for the leadership of the race.

© AFP 2007

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