Cycling: Pellizotti wins Paris-Nice second stage

13th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

LIMOGES, France, March 13, 2007 (AFP) - Liquigas rider Franco Pellizotti put his individual panache on show by leading home an Italian 1-2-3 in the second stage of Paris-Nice here Tuesday.

LIMOGES, France, March 13, 2007 (AFP) - Liquigas rider Franco Pellizotti put his individual panache on show by leading home an Italian 1-2-3 in the second stage of Paris-Nice here Tuesday.

The 29-year-old Italian thus takes the overall lead of the race from Britain's David Millar, who is now six seconds off the pace in second in the general classification just ahead of Italian Daniele Bennati.

Pellizotti sprung a decisive late attack on the tricky finale, pulling ahead of a small bunch of riders in the final 600 metres to come over the finish line on his own.

Behind him Lampre sprinter Bennati, wearing the race's top sprinter's green jersey, dug deep to limit the damage and finished second ahead of another Liquigas rider, Luca Paolini.

Frenchman Thomas Voeckler, perhaps inspired by compatriot Jean-Patrick Nazon's victory in Monday's first stage, was primed to hand the race hosts a second victory in as many days.

However the Bouygues Telecom rider came to trouble just before the final kilometre on a slight incline which allowed a chasing group to catch up on him.

Tuesday's 177km stage had begun in earnest. over 52km was covered in the first hour of racing as the peloton launched its pursuit of a group of 17 riders from 16 different teams for over 30km.

After they were caught, a four-man group managed to break away and they went on to build a lead of 6min 40sec by kilometre 76.

The Saunier Duval team of race leader Millar was called upon throughout to lead the chase at the front and they eventually cut the gap to 2min 50sec at kilometre 142.

Two of the riders involved in the earlier four-man breakaway, Voeckler and Brazilian Murilo Fischer, managed to resist being reeled in however until the final two kilometres.

Fischer, of Liquigas, appeared to voluntarily sit up, perhaps in the knowledge that the team-mates behind him had better legs to go for victory.

Voeckler went it alone, but could only look on in dismay as the Quick Step team of Tom Boonen powered past him just after he had passed the red flag to signal the race's final kilometre.

The third stage on Wednesday will be raced over 215.5km between Limoges and Maurs-la-Jolie.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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