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Petacchi Triumphs on Tyneside


Stage 6. Sept 12 (Fri) Darlington to Newcastle  97 miles


So close but so far for British champion Rob Hayles as Petacchi's final throw is enough to give him the stage in Newcastle under the famous bridge


Summary - Alessandro Petacchi won his second stage of the race as the sixth stage of the tour of Britain came down to a bunch sprint after a near stage-long break was caught in the final few kilometres. GB's Rob Hayles was second, with Edval Boason Hagen third after winning the previous two stages.


Report - The sixth stage of the Tour took riders North from Darlington, through County Durham and up to Morpeth in Northumberland, the scene of some of last week's worst floods. From there the route turned eastwards and then south onto the coast at Seaton Sluice. The coast was followed down to Tynemouth, where riders turned inland along the riverside, though Newcastle to finish in Gateshead, after almost 156km. Although featuring only two classified climbs, the route's middle section was virtually all at 500 feet or higher above sea level, before a long flat run in of some 45km to the finish.

Massive crowds greeted the race as it rolled out of Darlington, once again under cloudy skies. This is the first visit to the NE of England for the race since it was re-born in 2004 and the weather was not kind, turning increasingly wet as the stage unfolded.

Almost as soon as the riders had left the neutralised zone a break of three riders went away and immediately set about building a big lead over the rest of the field. Plowman Craven's Evan Oliphant and Pinarello's Peter Williams initiated the break and were followed by  CSC's senior Aussie Brad McGee. significantly, it didn't include anyone with serious GC aspirations.

Evan Oliphant seemed to roll away from the bunch, saw the gap and gave it some gas chased by former Tour de France yellow jersey Bradley McGee.


Diego Cacci of Barloworld bridged across a little later after a tough 15 minute chase and joined the break as McGee cajoled his companions to start working harder. This they did over the next 30km or so and at Durham their lead had gone out to a healthy 5 minutes. By the foot of the first KOM of the day, Langley, the lead hit almost six and a half minutes, with no response as yet from the peloton.

However, over the top of the 3rd category climb, the lead had dipped to just six minutes and back in the main field the Agritubel team-mates of race leader Geoffroy Lequarte were gathering at the front and although not openly chasing to start with, they ensured that the gap grew no further and then began to apply pressure.

At the top of the second classified climb of the day, High Barns, at just about half distance, there was bad news for the break as their lead had been whittled down to under four minutes. The LPR Brakes-Ballan and Garmin-Chipotle teams were also by now beginning to show themselves at the front of the main field and it began to look as though the escapees wouldn't even be given a sniff of staying away to the finish. Both teams had sprinters eager for some action after several days of fragmented stage finishes. A puncture for Peter Williams added to the sense that the break was doomed, though he re-joined his companions without incident.

As the leading four made their way South along the North Sea coast, they would have been looking out for the sharp turn inland which would signal the start of the final run in alongside the Tyne. However, just before they entered Whitley Bay, with some 25km to go, the leaders lost Caccia who crashed on an innocuous looking corner. He went down hard and although he was able to re-mount, he lost contact with them, leaving the break down to 3 riders approximately one and a half minutes clear of the peloton.


The weather was worstening by this point and the roads in this built up area presented a tough technical challenge with their poor surfaces and frequent junctions, corners and roundabouts. Behind the leaders, the peloton was also encountering problems on the slippery roads, with at least one crash reported, as the route turned inland at Tynemouth, with its distinctive Abbey.

Ahead the three remaining escapees managed to hang on to a slender lead of just under half a minute as they rocketed along the north bank of the Tyne, with heavy rain making the under-tyre conditions worse by the minute. Peter Williams was clearly feeling strong and defiant as he began to attack McGee and Oliphant and tried to forge a solo break. McGee countered and also tried to break clear, but by now the peloton was in sight of them and the inevitable catch came with some 5km to go, with McGee the last to succumb after a long, brave fight.


With the pace now very high, the tail end of the peloton began to shed riders. Turning onto the finish straight, it was GB's Rob Hayles who led out the sprint and he went very close to taking the stage, only to see Alessandro Petacchi come past him for a repeat of their first stage one-two and the 152nd win of his career. So Hayles had to settle for second, with race-revelation Edval Boason Hagen claiming third. As a result of his win, Petacchi took over the lead in the Points competition from Roger Hammond.


Jersey presentation after the stage today, L-R: Yellow (Geoffroy Lequarte), Sprints (Danilo di Luca), Points (Alessandro Petacchi) and King of the Mountains Ben Swift.


Behind the leading trio, several leading British riders were once again very well placed, with King of the Mountains leader Ben Swift showing again what an all-round talent he is by claiming sixth on the line, with Russell Downing producing his best finish of the week in fourth. Downing's Pinarello team-mate Malcolm Elliott was with him in fifth, whilst CSC's Jonny Bellis was seventh.


At the finish, there was little change in the General Classification, with Agritubel's Geoffroy Lequarte leading Steve Cummings by six seconds. Speaking post stage, Lequarte identified Saturday's tough stage through the Borders from Glasgow to Drumlanrig Castle as the crunch stage for the overall standings. With climbing throughout and the potentially difficult Mennock Pass to face, it looks like the Frenchman may have a point. Much may depend on the weather.


Post Race Reactions


Speaking after the stage, victor Alessandro Petacchi said:

"The sprint today was very difficult because it was so wet out on the course. Rob Hayles was really going well but thankfully I just managed to pip him. In Italy they have a saying that there is no two without three, so I would really like to make it a third stage win in Liverpool on Sunday. I think it will be another sprint finish there so it should be good for me. Hopefully there won't be any rain there though, because that made it difficult for me today but I managed to get round and I was happy to get the win."



Ben Swift with his parents dogs


Peter Williams, Combativity prize


Fun and games at the start in Darlington


School children gave the race a resounding send off in Darlington


The familair sight this year of the race being lined out. Here LPR do their bit to bring it together for a sprint.


The break go through Morpeth north of Newcastle


Steve Cummings rides the cobbles up to sign on, right: Diego Cacci joined the break after a hard chase.


Two King of the Mountains, Ben Swift and 'George' who won the title in 1961.


Each school had a banner to support a team in the race.


The Podium girls take the mascot on walkabout in Darlington.



A dry and relaxed peloton leave Darlington.


The yellow jersey chats to Tyler Hamilton.


All together at 0 kilometer...


Evan Oliphant of Plowman Craven rolls of the front


.. and then there are two as Oliphant is joined by McGee and Pete Williams chases as does the Barloworld rider Diego Cacci


Attacks continue in the peloton as the break opens up a gap.



Agritubel though soon have control of the bunch 


Diego Cacci  about to join the break after a tough chase.


McGee leads the break of four on their long escape


The break rolls over the line for the King of the Mountain sprints.


The race convoy winds its way through the pretty countryside.


Garmin stretch the bunch as they chase down the break


And LPR also chase.


The finish in Newcastle, raining but spectacular.


Petacchi on the podium


Yellow jersey Lequarte



Stage Results   
1 Petacchi, Alessandro LPR Brakes - Ballan 3h45'09"
2 Hayles, Rob Great Britain same time
3 Boasson Hagen, Edval Team Columbia same time
4 Downing, Russell Pinarello RT - Candi TV same time
5 Elliott, Malcolm Pinarello RT - Candi TV same time
6 Swift, Ben Great Britain same time
7 Bellis, Jonathan Team CSC - Saxo Bank same time
8 Feillu, Romain Agritubel same time
9 Lisabeth, Kenny An Post M.Donnelly same time
10 Sutton, Chris Garmin - Chipotle same time
11 Van Heerden, Juan MTN Energade same time
12 Martin, Daniel Garmin - Chipotle same time
13 Lequarte, Geoffroy Agritubel same time
14 Cummings, Steve Barloworld same time
15 Downing, Dean Rapha - Condor - same time
16 Marque Porto, Alejandro Palmeiras Resort - Tavira same time
17 Goss, Matthew Team CSC - Saxo Bank same time
18 Rodriguez, Fred Rock Racing same time
19 Appleby, Dale Rapha - Condor - @05"
20 O'Grady, Stuart Team CSC - Saxo Bank @ s/t
21 House, Kristian Rapha - Condor - @ s/t
22 Sneeboer, Paul Palmeiras Resort - Tavira @ s/t
23 Reynes, Vicente Team Columbia @ s/t
24 Lloyd, Daniel An Post M.Donnelly @ s/t
25 De Schrooder, Benny An Post M.Donnelly @ s/t
26 Fleeman, Daniel An Post M.Donnelly @ s/t
27 Veuchelen, Frederik Topsport Vlaanderen @ s/t
28 Stannard, Ian Great Britain @ s/t
29 Gaywood, Simon Plowman Craven RT @ s/t
30 Walker, Johnnie - AIS @ s/t
31 Berges, Emilien Agritubel @ s/t
32 George, David MTN Energade @ s/t
33 Richardson, Simon Plowman Craven RT @ s/t
34 Evans, Kevin MTN Energade @ s/t
35 Vandewalle, Kristof Topsport Vlaanderen @ s/t
36 Bosisio, Gabriele LPR Brakes - Ballan @ s/t
37 Pena, Victor Hugo Rock Racing @11"
38 Sevilla, Oscar Rock Racing @ s/t
39 Botero, Santiago Rock Racing @ s/t
40 Clarke, Simon - AIS @ s/t
41 Hammond, Roger Team Columbia @12"
42 Henderson, Greg Team Columbia @ s/t
43 Dean, Julian Garmin - Chipotle @28"
44 Sulzberger, Wesley - AIS @39"
45 Kirchen, Kim Team Columbia @ s/t
46 Caethoven, Steven Agritubel @50"
47 Thomas, Geraint Barloworld @56"
48 Pauwels, Serge Topsport Vlaanderen @01'09"
49 Williams, Peter Pinarello RT - Candi TV @01'24"
50 Goddaert, Kristof Topsport Vlaanderen @01'33"
51 Hamilton, Tyler Rock Racing @01'40"
52 Dempster, Zakkari - AIS 
53 Murray, Tom Pinarello RT - Candi TV @01'40"
54 Sabido, Hugo Barloworld @ s/t
55 Hunter, Robbie Barloworld @01'46"
56 Impey, Daryl Barloworld @ s/t
57 McEvoy, Jonathan Great Britain 
58 Partridge, Rob Rapha - Condor - @01'46"
59 Vanspeybrouck, Pieter Topsport Vlaanderen @02'14"
60 Oliphant, Evan Plowman Craven RT @02'16"
61 Backstedt, Magnus Garmin - Chipotle @ s/t
62 Barras, Tom Plowman Craven RT @02'39"
63 McGee, Bradley Team CSC - Saxo Bank @03'03"
64 Blanco Rodriguez, David Palmeiras Resort - Tavira @03'33"
65 Ermeti, Giairo LPR Brakes - Ballan @03'38"
66 Woolcock, Waylon MTN Energade @04'08"
67 Gallagher, Stephen An Post M.Donnelly @04'12"
68 Bichot, Freddy Agritubel @04'19"
69 Tennant, Andrew Great Britain @06'17"
70 Wiggins, Bradley Team Columbia @ s/t
71 Davis, Lee Pinarello RT - Candi TV @ s/t
72 Millard, James Plowman Craven RT @07'06"
73 Sorensen, Chris Team CSC - Saxo Bank @08'18"
74 Lowe, Trent Garmin - Chipotle @ s/t
75 Millar, David Garmin - Chipotle @ s/t
76 Newton, Chris Rapha - Condor - @ s/t
77 Roche, Andrew Pinarello RT - Candi TV @ s/t
78 Southam, Tom Great Britain @ s/t
79 Vogondy, Nicolas Agritubel @ s/t
80 Thomson, Jay MTN Energade @ s/t
81 Spezialetti, Alessandro LPR Brakes - Ballan @ s/t
82 MacDonald, Neil MTN Energade @ s/t
83 Di Luca, Danilo LPR Brakes - Ballan @ s/t
84 Barbe, Koen Topsport Vlaanderen @ s/t
85 Cucinotta, Claudio LPR Brakes - Ballan @09'08"
86 Meyer, Travis - AIS @ s/t
87 Swift-Metcalfe, Tomas Palmeiras Resort - Tavira @11'41"
88 Meyer, Cameron - AIS @ s/t
89 Caccia, Diego Barloworld @ s/t

General Classification   

1 Lequarte, Geoffroy Agritubel 21h14'49"
2 Cummings, Steve Barloworld @06"
3 Martin, Daniel Garmin - Chipotle @14"
4 Bosisio, Gabriele LPR Brakes - Ballan @15"
5 Stannard, Ian Great Britain @16"
6 Fleeman, Daniel An Post M.Donnelly @18"
7 De Schrooder, Benny An Post M.Donnelly @19"
8 Veuchelen, Frederik Topsport Vlaanderen @28"
9 Berges, Emilien Agritubel @40"
10 Downing, Russell Pinarello RT - Candi TV @01'24"
11 Marque Porto, Alejandro Palmeiras Resort - Tavira @01'47"
12 Bellis, Jonathan Team CSC - Saxo Bank @01'49"
13 House, Kristian Rapha - Condor - same time
14 Hammond, Roger Team Columbia @01'52"
15 George, David MTN Energade @01'54"
16 Sutton, Chris Garmin - Chipotle @01'59"
17 Richardson, Simon Plowman Craven RT @02'04"
18 Vandewalle, Kristof Topsport Vlaanderen @02'48"
19 Evans, Kevin MTN Energade @03'31"
20 Sabido, Hugo Barloworld @04'35"
21 Southam, Tom Great Britain @10'34"
22 Boasson Hagen, Edval Team Columbia @11'52"
23 Goss, Matthew Team CSC - Saxo Bank @12'15"
24 Petacchi, Alessandro LPR Brakes - Ballan @12'35"
25 Elliott, Malcolm Pinarello RT - Candi TV @12'46"
26 Lloyd, Daniel An Post M.Donnelly @12'48"
27 Swift, Ben Great Britain @12'51"
28 Reynes, Vicente Team Columbia same time
29 Dean, Julian Garmin - Chipotle @13'00"
30 Walker, Johnnie - AIS @13'17"
31 Clarke, Simon - AIS @13'53"
32 Botero, Santiago Rock Racing same time
33 Goddaert, Kristof Topsport Vlaanderen @14'11"
34 Kirchen, Kim Team Columbia @14'21"
35 Pauwels, Serge Topsport Vlaanderen @14'31"
36 Oliphant, Evan Plowman Craven RT @15'19"
37 Partridge, Rob Rapha - Condor - @15'37"
38 Ermeti, Giairo LPR Brakes - Ballan @16'19"
39 Feillu, Romain Agritubel @16'20"
40 Vanspeybrouck, Pieter Topsport Vlaanderen @17'15"
41 Woolcock, Waylon MTN Energade @17'31"
42 McEvoy, Jonathan Great Britain @17'42"
43 Caethoven, Steven Agritubel @17'50"
44 Blanco Rodriguez, David Palmeiras Resort - Tavira @18'15"
45 Rodriguez, Fred Rock Racing @18'32"
46 Murray, Tom Pinarello RT - Candi TV @18'51"
47 O'Grady, Stuart Team CSC - Saxo Bank @19'07"
48 Bichot, Freddy Agritubel @19'57"
49 Di Luca, Danilo LPR Brakes - Ballan @20'34"
50 Williams, Peter Pinarello RT - Candi TV @20'51"
51 Sorensen, Chris Team CSC - Saxo Bank @21'04"
52 Gallagher, Stephen An Post M.Donnelly @22'03"
53 Sneeboer, Paul Palmeiras Resort - Tavira @22'44"
54 Spezialetti, Alessandro LPR Brakes - Ballan @23'20"
55 Meyer, Travis - AIS @23'22"
56 Tennant, Andrew Great Britain @23'46"
57 Van Heerden, Juan MTN Energade @24'11"
58 Sevilla, Oscar Rock Racing @24'28"
59 Dempster, Zakkari - AIS @24'42"
60 Hayles, Rob Great Britain @25'02"
61 Henderson, Greg Team Columbia @25'07"
62 Lisabeth, Kenny An Post M.Donnelly @25'16"
63 Appleby, Dale Rapha - Condor - @25'21"
64 Sulzberger, Wesley - AIS @26'03"
65 Davis, Lee Pinarello RT - Candi TV @26'12"
66 Caccia, Diego Barloworld @26'34"
67 Hamilton, Tyler Rock Racing @26'37"
68 Impey, Daryl Barloworld @26'39"
69 Pena, Victor Hugo Rock Racing @26'45"
70 Hunter, Robbie Barloworld @27'16"
71 Thomas, Geraint Barloworld @27'19"
72 Lowe, Trent Garmin - Chipotle @27'20"
73 Backstedt, Magnus Garmin - Chipotle @27'28"
74 Downing, Dean Rapha - Condor - @27'50"
75 McGee, Bradley Team CSC - Saxo Bank @28'22"
76 Barras, Tom Plowman Craven RT @30'06"
77 Wiggins, Bradley Team Columbia @32'22"
78 Millard, James Plowman Craven RT @33'16"
79 MacDonald, Neil MTN Energade @33'17"
80 Millar, David Garmin - Chipotle @33'27"
81 Vogondy, Nicolas Agritubel @33'39"
82 Newton, Chris Rapha - Condor - @33'48"
83 Thomson, Jay MTN Energade @35'37"
84 Cucinotta, Claudio LPR Brakes - Ballan @35'46"
85 Barbe, Koen Topsport Vlaanderen @36'52"
86 Meyer, Cameron - AIS @37'00"
87 Swift-Metcalfe, Tomas Palmeiras Resort - Tavira @39'24"
88 Gaywood, Simon Plowman Craven RT @41'04"
89 Roche, Andrew Pinarello RT - Candi TV @51'25"

Other Competitions

1 Swift,B GBR 29
2 House,K RCR 19
3 Di Luca,D LPR 19
4 Cummings,S BAR 15
5 Lequarte,G AGR 14
6 Boasson Hagen,E THR 11
7 Pauwels,S TSV 11
8 Sabido,H BAR 10
9 Stannard,I GBR 9
10 Fleeman,D SKT 8

1 Petacchi,A LPR 44
2 Boasson Hagen,E THR 43
3 Goss,M CSC 39
4 Hammond,R THR 39
5 Dean,J TSL 37
6 Goddaert,K TSV 31
7 Bellis,J CSC 30
8 Hayles,R GBR 30
9 Downing,R POT 27
10 Downing,D RCR 27

1 Di Luca,D LPR 17
2 Ermeti,G LPR 15
3 Boasson Hagen,E THR 13
4 Caccia,D BAR 12
5 Williams,P POT 11
6 Impey,D BAR 10
7 Goss,M CSC 9
8 Oliphant,E PCA 9
9 Sutton,C TSL 9
10 Lequarte,G AGR 8

1 Agritubel 63h48'16" 
2 An Post M.Donnelly @ 09'32" 
3 Great Britain @ 11'05" 
4 Garmin - Chipotle @ 11'11" 
5 Topsport Vlaanderen @ 12'50" 
6 LPR Brakes - Ballan @ 14'00" 
7 MTN Energade @ 14'46" 
8 Barloworld @ 15'47" 
9 Team Columbia @ 23'17" 
10 Team CSC - Saxo Bank @ 23'27" 





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