Alessandro Petacchi claimed he did not know Mark Cavendish had crashed and insisted it was right that the lead group did not wait for the pink jersey in today’s third stage of the 2009 Giro d’Italia.
?I?ve just found out now that he crashed. I knew there was a crash and but didn?t know who was in it,? Petacchi said.
?With 10km to go and finish like that, when the race is on and on a circuit, it?s different to when five or six riders are away together, like the day Armstrong crashed in the Tour and Ullrich waited for him.?
?I?m sorry if something happened but I didn?t see Mark on the last lap and thought he was struggling. I didn?t see his team mates and thought they were helping him.?
Cavendish and Petacchi: no hard feelings?
PETACCHI TO BECOME CAVENDISH?S LEAD OUT MAN?
Alessandro Petacchi beat Mark Cavendish in the first sprint in Trieste and now taken his pink jersey but the Italian revealed he has a lot of respect for his British rival and would even like to be his lead out man in the future.
?I?ve won two stages and I?m in the pink jersey. I?ve got a lot of respect for Mark but I think I did a great sprint yesterday and didn?t get the praise I deserved. I put my finger to my lips as I won to silence my critics in the Italian press. You shouldn?t be writing that Cavendish lost, but that I won!?
?I actually respect every sprinter out there and Mark is a great campione and has got a great future.?
?I?d like to lead him out in sprint like Zabel did for me. We actually talked about it this morning early during the stage. I?m getting on a bit but if Lance Armstrong has made a comeback at 37, I can keep racing a bit more. If you?re motivated, really want to keep going and if you work hard, you can still do it. I don?t feel old and I?ve missed several season in recent years, so I think I can be competitive for a while yet.?
Petacchi pulled on the pink jersey and will wear it for a seventh time during Tuesday?s mountain stage to San Martino di Castrozza.
He made it clear he will not have the jersey after the stage into the Dolomites but indicated that his team mate Danilo Di Luca could have it. The little Italian is sixth overall, 40 seconds behind Petacchi but only nine seconds behind Lance Armstrong, who is fifth, and Columbia pair Michael Rogers and Thomas Lovkist who are third and fourth at 18 seconds.
After the excitement and disappointment of the opening three stages, the battle for overall victory in the Giro begins in earnest.
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