Robbie McEwen (Predictor) won the first sprint battle of the 2007 Giro d?Italia with an impressive acceleration to take the second stage from Tempio Pausania to Bosa in Sardinia on Sunday.

McEwen survived the hilly stage and final climb overlooking Bosa and then sat on the Milram lead out train in the final kilometres before easily powering past Alessandro Petacchi. World champion Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) was second and Petacchi was a disappointed third.

Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) finished twelfth in the sprint and took the pink jersey from team mate Enrico Gasparotto after he was delayed by a crash, 1200 metres from the finish. Gasparotto was given the same time as McEwen but Di Luca pulled on the pink jersey and restored Liquigas team hierarchy thanks to a better placing on the day.

Charly Wegelius was involved in the crash but was also given the same time and is now fourth overall, in the same time as Di Luca. Steve Cummings finished 1-37 behind and is now 93rd at 2-26.

TWELFTH GIRO STAGE WIN FOR MCEWEN

It was McEwen?s twelfth stage win in the Giro d?Italia and the 154th victory of his 12-year career, showing he is not slowing down or struggling on the climbs despite now being 34.

?I was near the back of the peloton on the last climb but I got back on to the Milram lead out train at the bottom of the descent, followed them to the line, did a good sprint and passed Petacchi,? McEwen said.

?I knew Paolo Bettini was on my wheel and hoping to come past but I just started my sprint a little later and didn?t have any problem being first to the line.?

?I was hoping to win at least one stage at this year?s Giro and so my race has already been a success. Hopefully I win again in Cagliari on Monday as well because the stage is not as hilly.?

DI LUCA HAPPY

After pulling on the pink jersey, Di Luca admitted shouting some strong words at Gasparotto as they crossed the line yesterday but was happy to joke about exactly what he said and has just happy to have the pink jersey.

?I was near the front to stay out of trouble and it was the right thing to do and everything turned out right,? he said.

?We?re going to try and keep the jersey but we?ll take things day by day and defend it without killing ourselves. Today only three riders rode on the front and Monday?s stage is pretty flat, which will help.?

?I?ve got some time gaps on the other favourites but the Giro has only just began. Were going to see some really big gaps in the final week in the mountains.?

The third stage starts in Barumini and finishes in Cagliari after 181 kilometres of racing around the southern tip of Sardinia. The final kilometre is completely straight and so perfect for a mass sprint finish. Petacchi will be looking for revenge but has admitted he still has not fully recovered from his crash in last year?s Giro.

RESULTS: STAGE TWO: TEMPIO PAUSANIA – BOSA

1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor – Lotto 206km in 5-07-13
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quickstep – Innergetic
3 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram
4 Assan Bazayev (Kaz) Astana
5 Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Ceramica Panaria
6 Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2r Prévoyance
7 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
8 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
9 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita) T-Mobile Team
10 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel all same time

OVERALL CLASSIFICATION

1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 5-40-51
2 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas
4 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Liquigas
5 Andrea Noe’ (Ita) Liquigas
6 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas all same time
7 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Astana at 0.13
8 Andrey Mizourov (Kaz) Astana
9 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Astana
10 Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz) Astana all same time



Giro d’Italia: www.gazzetta.it