Wins for Petacchi and Gilbert

Alessandro Petacchi takes win number four of the season in the Luis Puig Trophy, while the Belgians

Alessandro Petacchi takes win number four of the season in the Luis Puig Trophy, while the Belgians
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Two of the peloton's most in-form riders tasted success again this weekend, with Alessandro Petacchi taking a fourth win of the season as he took the Luis Puig Trophy in Valencia, and Belgium's Philippe Gilbert took his second victory in little more than a week at the Tour of Haut Var in the south of France. The Luis Puig race tends to go the way of the sprinters, and the finish in Valencia after the run from Benidorm saw all the expected contenders in contention. Although pushed close at the Ruta del Sol last week on both stage wins there, Petacchi had no trouble putting significant distance between himself and runner-up Isaac Galvez, with world champion Oscar Freire third. The locally backed Comunitat Valenciana team almost continued their recent run of success as Carlos Zarate launched a solo attack near the end of the race, but the Spaniard was caught on the outskirts of Valencia. From there Petacchi's 'train' took over and efficiently set their man up for the win. 1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bartolo 174km in 4.08.47 (41.96kph) 2 Isaac Galvez (Spa) Illes Balears 3 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 4 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval 5 Max van Heeswijk (Hol) Discovery Channel 6 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Liquigas-Bianchi 7 Marco Velo (Ita) Fassa Bartolo 8 Robert Hunter (SA) Phonak 9 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Saunier Duval 10 Jon Del Rio (Spa) Andalucia-Paul Versan Gilbert was an equally impressive winner of the Haut Var, which followed his success in the same region last week at the Tour of the Med. The event takes place on the rolling roads around the town of Draguignan and is the opening event of the Coupe de France series. Gilbert was one of three riders to respond to a late attack by Cofidis' David Moncouti, who was caught 12km from the finish. From that point there was little doubt that Gilbert would be the quickest in a sprint, and so it proved as he got the better of Acqua & Sapone's Ruggero Marzoli and Cofidis' Cdric Vasseur. The victory was Francaise des Jeux's seventh in the past three weeks, a run that Gilbert put down to the young riders on the French team beginning to mature and to the confidence that success breeds. "I'm a bit surprised by my form now," Gilbert told La Dernire Heure. "But I think there is still more to come. This is my third year now and now I think I've got more strength, resistance, experience and confidence. What makes it even more exciting is that I am going to improve even more in the years to come." His coming targets are next weekend's Het Volk and then Paris-Nice. 1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Franaise des Jeux 181km in 4.43.55 (38.25kph) 2 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone 3 Cdric Vasseur (Fra) Cofidis 4 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.18 5 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crdit Agricole 6 David Moncouti (Fra) Cofidis 7 Florent Brard (Fra) Agritubel 8 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 0.20 9 Matej Mugerli (Slo) Liquigas 0.32 10 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Lampre 0.38 Sunday's second round of the Coupe de France, the Classic Haribo, also went to a Belgian rider as's Gorik Gardeyn saw off Francaise des Jeux's Lilian Jgou and Lampre-Caffita's Alessandro Ballan in a three-man sprint in Marseille. The race split soon after the start outside the Haribo sweet factory in the town of Uzs. Nineteen riders went clear after just 7km, with a further split provoked by FDJ's Ludovic Auger later in the day. Gardeyn and his two sprint adversaries went away from this group in the closing kilometres, and the Belgian won the final sprint with ease and with it his weight (72kg) in Haribo sweets. 1 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) 181km in 4.40.03 (38.78kph) 2 Lilian Jegou (Fra) Franaise des Jeux 3 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 4 Ludovic Auger (Fra) Franaise des Jeux 0.06 5 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.38 6 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.48 7 Kilian Patour (Fra) Crdit Agricole 1.09 8 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Saunier Duval 9 Matej Mugerli (Slo) Liquigas 1.10 10 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Cofidis 1.49
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