Petacchi dominates sprint

Petacchi dominates sprint
By Eurosport

23/02/2007 at 23:08Updated

Italian Alessandro Petacchi reconfirmed his favourite status for next month's Milan-Sanremo with a dominant sprint win at the Tour of Algarve on Friday.

Thursday's winner Bernhard Eisel (T-Mobile) took the leader's jersey in Portugal finishing behind Petacchi in the final sprint.

Lithuania's Tomas Vaitkus (Discovery) took third in the bunch sprint finale in front of German David Kopp (Gerolsteiner) and Austrian René Haselbacher (Astana).

"It was a very close call", said Eisel's sporting manager Tristan Hoffman after the Austrian did just enough to claim the overall lead from Belgium's Gert Steegmans by three seconds.

"Yesterday the stage win and today claiming the yellow jersey -- this is the way forward."

Milram's Petacchi, meanwhile, not only proved his ability to control a mass sprint finale, but also showed that he was capable of surviving in the mountains on the Tour's longest stage.

"Petacchi was really impressive in the mountains," Eisel told the Cyclingnews after the 208.3 kilometre trip from Lagoa to Lagos.

"He made the front group and I got dropped. I wasn't strong enough to stay with the best riders up there but we got back on nearby Portimao (with 30 km to go)."

Staurday's fourth stage is a 187-km voyage from Vila Real de Santo António to Loulé.