PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
In the briefest of respites between mountain stages Alessandro Petacchi took his second stage win of the Giro, finishing at least three bike lengths clear of young pretender Paride Grillo, with Spain's Isaac Galvez in third. There was no change in the overall standings, in which Ivan Basso still leads Paolo Savoldelli by 18 seconds.
With a big weekend in the mountains ahead, the bunch took it easy for most of the day, allowing Selle Italia's Philippe Schnyder to spend some quality time on the front before the sprinters' teams closed down his lead. Once the Swiss had been reeled in, the pace on the front of the bunch was extremely rapid, with Discovery Channel and CSC taking the lead late on to prevent any breaks and to keep their team leaders out of trouble.
Petacchi's Fassa Bortolo team-mates massed on the front in the last 6km and resisted all efforts to disrupt their lead-out. The roads into the finish switched about a fair bit, and one of these rapid changes of direction did for Robbie McEwen's chances as he got trapped on the barriers as he was being led up the bunch.
With McEwen out of the picture Petacchi was bound to have an easier ride, but before the Fassa team leader could begin to fully unwind his sprint Grillo shot off on his left. The move showed Grillo's pure speed but effectively became a lead-out for Petacchi, who got on the Panaria rider's wheel and then burned past him to win by a distance.
Tomorrow's stage features six mountains, the last of them climbing 9km towards the finish at Ortisei.
Stage 12, Alleghe-Rovereto
1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 175km in 4.50.00 (36.21kph)
2 Paride Grillo (Ita) Panaria
3 Isaac Galvez (Spa) Illes Balears
4 Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
5 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Crdit Agricole
6 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
7 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis
8 Aurlien Clerc (Swi) Phonak
9 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) Domina Vacanze
10 Baden Cooke (Aus) Francaise des Jeux
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 53.55.20
2 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel 0.18
3 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 1.04
4 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 2.27
5 Serhiy Honchar (Ukr) Domina Vacanze 3.45
6 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 4.34
7 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Liberty Seguros 4.48
8 Dario Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 5.25
9 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Panaria 5.58
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM