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Petacchi wins stage, Cancellara retains lead

07-05-2010 11:29 BJT

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Riders got off to a rough start in a crash-filled first stage of the Tour De France Sunday. They began the journey in Holland this year, and it took an experienced Italian to emerge with the victory.

The Tour field set off in the Netherlands for the first day of stage action...ahead lay a 223.5-kilometre ride from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to Brussels in Belgium.

Watch as a dog wanders into the front of the peloton and creates chaos in the pack. Scotsman David Millar and Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso were among the first riders to hit the pavement. But the next major spill was due to human error. This was the result: a wild sprint for the finish line in the last 2.5 kilometres.

Briton Mark Cavendish won six stages last year, but he missed the final turn leading to the home stretch and smashed into three-time world champion Oscar Freire of Spain. Replays showed it was Cavendish's fault. He lost his balance on the bike and crashed into the Spaniard.

Cavendish and Friere were both out of the race. But that accident was nothing compared to another huge pile-up. This one happened in the final straight with just 800 metres to go and created a rare complete course blockage as the front runners got away. Riders were crashing all the way to the finish line, but Italian Alessandro Petacchi of the Lampre-Farnese team managed to stay on his bike and come across in first place. Mark Renshaw, from Australia, took second behind Petacchi. Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara retained his 10-second overall lead.

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