I don't wanna say I told you so... but, well... I told you so!
Ale Jet Petacchi found those legs he needed and on top of it, he was able to win without his customary magic carpet ride to the finish line from his leadout train. Petacchi actually launched himself out of the pack at about 300m out and held off the other sprinters. McEwen had to settle for fourth behind Maximiliano Richeze (3rd) and Robert Forster (2nd). Robbie ain't out of this fight yet, but Petacchi did an outstanding job of capitalizing in a way he isn't known for. That shows not only a bit of confidence, but also a willingness to fight for the win. If I were in this race, I'd be pegging my sprints on Petacchi right about now. Ale Jet has also taken over the sprinter's jersey from McEwen, but the fight has really only just begun. Speaking of taking over jerseys, Gasparotto is now back in the manly pink of the leader's jersey, keeping it in the Liquigas family. DiLuca got a day in the tunic and is now just going to relax until it is time to really make it count.
Thor Hushovd took a spill on the day, so he wasn't even in the mix for the sprint. The big guy from Norway got bruised up, but he's still in the race. Sprinters beware... he'll be back to fight again.
Tomorrow is an odd rest day, to accommodate travel back to the mainland, after 3 days of racing on the island of Sardinia. All the poor guys who have already taken a tumble this year will likely be happy to get a day to rest and heal a little. The next stage should be fairly mild and not too terrible on the legs... though it is always hard to come back from a rest day.
That's it for today. Congrats to Petacchi. Welcome back to the podium!