Cycling Cycling

Petacchi drops out in mountain stage

Posted: Saturday July 12, 2003 10:38 AM
Updated: Saturday July 12, 2003 11:49 AM

MORZINE-AVORIAZ, France (AP) -- Alessandro Petacchi of Italy, the leading sprinter in the Tour de France, dropped out of the race during a grueling mountain stage Saturday.

Petacchi, who won four of the first six stages, including Friday's 142.83-mile trek from Nevers to Lyon, was one of six riders to drop out as the race entered its uphill phase. A total of 10 riders have dropped out since competition started a week ago.

In addition to Petacchi, who was wearing the top sprinter's green jersey, Jaan Kirsipuu of Estonia, Spanish riders Jesus Manzano and Luis Perez, and Germany's Olaf Pollack and Michael Rich also quit Saturday, the Tour's Web site reported.

Saturday's seventh stage was the longest in the Tour, a demanding 143.2-mile ride from Lyon to the ski resort of Morzine-Avoriaz, the first of many mountain climbs.

Petacchi, of the Fassa Bortolo team, dropped out after 32.3 miles, at the Col de Portes, considered the most difficult of several climbs Saturday.

Petacchi had won six victories in sprints in last month's Tour of Italy.

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