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TDF stage 1 / flat / crashes mar finish as Petacchi wins sprint

Sunday,  07/04/10  10:40 AM

Today's stage 1 from Rotterdam to Brussels was 220km of parade followed by 220m of sprint, except that three crashes toward the end winnowed the field; Mark Cavendish, Tyler Farrar, and Oscar Freire were eliminated from the final sprint, among many others, and Alessandro Petacchi out-sprinted the survivors to win.  (Yeah, remember him?  Virtually no one considered him a threat, yet he was one of the best sprinters in the world just a few years ago... looks like he still is!)

Fortunately nobody was seriously hurt - although scrapes and bruises now can take a toll three weeks later - and everyone in the field received the same time.

Onward to stage 2 - a classic ride through the Ardennes forest - could be a chance for a breakaway as there are a number of climbs toward the end...

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