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.?

Giro d'Italia 2009Cavendish and Petacchi: no hard feelings?

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.

Giro d’Italia 2009 links

Stage reports
Stage three: Cavendish loses pink jersey after being caught behind late crash
Stage two: Petacchi denies Cavendish the stage win
Stage one: Cavendish in pink as Columbia prove their point to Garmin

Photo galleries
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery

Cavendish struggles to find consolation in pink jersey
Petacchi: I’ve been working out how to beat Cav

I’m wearing pink on behalf of the team, says Cavendish
Wiggins ready to win Giro team time trial
Friday, May 8: Giro news round-up
Cavendish out to topple Garmin in Giro team time trial
Team time trial start times
Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia top ten prediction
Brits in Venice for Giro presentation
Armstrong overshadows overall favourites at Giro presentation
Armstrong confident of finding new sponsor for Astana
Armstrong working to save Astana team
Wiggins in top form for Giro
Garmin Slipstream kitted out for Giro opener
Dan Lloyd gets late Giro call-up
Armstrong’s special Giro bikes unveiled
Daniel Lloyd overlooked for Giro ride
Cummings and Thomas not selected for Giro d’Italia
Cavendish tests Giro form at Tour of Romandie
David Millar confirms he’s riding in 2009 Giro
Bennati to take on Cavendish in Giro 2009 sprints
2009 Giro d’Italia to start in Venice
Evans and Silence-Lotto disagree on Giro 2009 ride
Armstrong to ride 2009 Giro
Tuttosport reveals 2009 Giro d’Italia route
Dolce & Gabbana design new Giro jersey

2009 Giro d’Italia guide and features
Find the pink jersey competition
Giro d’Italia 2009: The Big Preview
British riders to have led the grand tours
CW’s Giro top ten prediction
Brits in the Giro 2009
Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish
CW Classic: the 1987 Giro d’Italia

2008 Giro d’Italia archive
Giro d’Italia 2008 coverage index – race reports, photos, results
From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Giro 2008: The final word on this year’s race
Brits at the 2008 Giro: photo special
Five days to go, what’s in store?
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview

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