Both Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico are done and dusted, with respectively Rebellin and Cancellara taking overall honours. From CN: Italian Francesco Chicchi won the final stage of the 43rd Tirreno-Adriatico, 176 kilometres starting and ending in San Benedetto del Tronto. The 27 year-old of Team Liquigas out-sprinted Italy's Danilo Napolitano (Lampre) and Great Britain's Mark Cavendish (High Road) to win on the seaside roads. Team CSC controlled the day to ensure Fabian Cancellara kept the overall leader's maglia azzurra, which he gained two days ago after winning the time trial. The Swiss, who today celebrated his 27th birthday, won the race with 16 seconds over Italian Enrico Gasparotto (Barloworld).
Just to look at the sprinters for a moment, in this last stage of T-A Robbie McEwen looked to run out of puff in the sprint - perhaps just went a tad too early. Petacchi didn't seem to try at all, and Cavendish was lost without his team-mates (they crashed) but recovered. Zabel was there, just, and Cooke was close by. The top 12 results looked like this:
1 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas 4.50.50 (36,309 km/h)
2 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre
3 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team High Road
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence - Lotto
5 Danilo Hondo (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli
6 Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) CSF Group Navigare
7 Alexandre Usov (Blr) AG2r - La Mondiale
8 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
9 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram
10 Baden Cooke (Aus) Barloworld
11 Mickael Delage (Fra) Française des Jeux
12 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Slipstream Chipotle Presented By H30
It's a long way to go before July, but it'll rattle along soon enough. Well before then we'll see who is firing at San Remo, won't we... Freire or Petacchi? Bettini or Di Luca?