McGee extends Tour of Spain lead - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McGee extends Tour of Spain lead

By Alasdair Fotheringham 30/08/2005 05:14:57 AM Comments (0)

Italian Alessandro Petacchi's build-up to the world championships got off to a fine start when he won stage three of the Tour of Spain from Cordoba to Puertollano.

The Fassa Bortolo rider easily outclassed German Erik Zabel, second and Belgian Tom Boonen third in the first bunch sprint of this year's race.

Australia's Bradley McGee continued as Australia's first ever race leader of the Tour of Spain for a second day.

The Francaise des Jeux rider showed he was determined to remain ahead when he snapped up a third place and two second places in intermediate sprints.

McGee secured 10 bonus seconds, increasing his overall advantage to 32 on Italian Leonardo Bertagnolli, Monday's stage winner, and 39 on Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha.

Petacchi, the strong favourite to succeed Spaniard Oscar Freire as world road-race champion on September 25 in Madrid, insisted he was not yet at 100 per cent.

"I couldn't get over the last climb on Sunday with the best, but today was flatter, so I seized my chance," he seized.

Referring to himself, Zabel, Boonen and Norwegian Thor Hushovd, who placed fourth in Puertollano, Petacchi said: "The four best sprinters of the world are here in Spain.

"But when I accelerated at the finish I maintained my advantage, so that was encouraging for now and for the worlds in Madrid."

With temperatures soaring to over 40 degrees during the short 153.3 kilometre-stage northwards from Andalucia into the country's central plains, Petacchi said the intense heat had made the race much more difficult than it looked on paper.

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