Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes) won his second stage at the Tour of Britain on Friday, taking the sprint along the banks of the Tyne in Newcastle Gateshead.

Petacchi won the opening stage in London on Sunday and was equally as fast in the rain in the northeast despite the Tour of Britain being his first race since the end of his five-month ban for abuse of his asthma inhailer.

Petacchi beat British national champion Rob Hayles (Great Britain) and double stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia) in the sprint after Hayles went for a long one long the banks of the Tyne. Petacchi managed to get up alongside him in the final hundred metres and then gained half a bike length at the line. Hayles finished second behind Petacchi in London was deeply disappointed to go so close yet again.

Petacchi and his LPR team deserved victory after chasing down the four-rider break of the day. Bradley McGee (CSC-Saxo Bank), Evan Oliphant (Plowman Craven), Pete Williams (Pinarello-Canditv) and Diego Caccia (Barloworld) went away at kilometre zero and quickly built a six-minute lead. LPR lead the chase from the 50km mark and finally brought them back four kilometres from the finish when McGee was last to be caught.

Great Britain tried to lead out the sprint, with Swift and Hayles the protected riders. With 300 metres to go someone shouted to Hayles to go. His move surprised Petacchi but he pulled out a special sprint to win.

?Today was a difficult day and it was a tough stage. The roads in the finale were slippy,? Petacchi said after his win.

?I was thinking of not doing the sprint because of the rain but I had to do it because of all the hard work my team mates did. Di Luca and Spezialetti did a lot of work early on and then Bosisio and Ermeti took over and brought the break back. After all the work they did I had to try and win.?

?Great Britain did a lot of work in the finale and so did O?Grady to set up Goss. Hayles went early and so I had to go after him. He went on the right and so I went on the left with about 300 metres to go. Boasson Hagen tried to come past Hayles but the road kinked a little bit and so it was difficult for him to get past. It was a long and hard sprint because there was a headwind and to be honest I didn?t feel great.?

?Hayes was strong and strangely sits down when he sprints. I had to do something special to beat him but fortunately I?m a specialist and know what to do to win.?

Petacchi admitted he would be looking for a third stage win in Liverpool on Sunday.

?Sunday could finish in another sprint and so I?d like to win it. I just hope it doesn?t rain?..?

Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) kept the race leader?s jersey thanks to finishing 13th on the stage. Steve Cummings (Barloworld) is still second at six seconds before Saturday?s decisive stage from Glasgow to Drumlanrig Castle. Dan Martin (Garmin) moved up to third overall at 14 seconds after his closest rivals lost five seconds in the final kilometres.

?It wasn?t easy day. It was a big day for us because we needed to control 90 riders,? Lequatre said.

?Fortunately when the four riders went we could let them go because they were 12 minutes behind overall. After that we decided to ride steady. We wanted other teams to help us with the chase and so we waited until LPR and then Garmin started to chase.?

?The final kilometres were nervous and difficult in the rain. The roads were slippy and there were a lot of crashes, it was dangerous in the last 20km. Fortunately I was well placed in the sprint and so everything went okay for us.?

?Tomorrow is the biggest stage of the race and will probably decide the winner of the Tour of Britain. The bonus sprints could be important and so could the climb. Hopefully we can let a break go clear. That?ll be good for us. We?ll see tomorrow.?

1. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes in 3h 45min 9secs

2. Rob Hayles (GB) Great Britain
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Columbia
4. Russell Downing (GB) Pinarello Canditv
5. Malcolm Elliott (GB) Pinarello Canditv
6. Ben Swift (GB) Great Britain
7. Jonathan Bellis (GB) CSC-Saxo Bank
8. Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel
9. Kenny Lisabeth (Bel) An Post
10. Chris Sutton (Aus) Garmin-Chipotle all at same time.

1. Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel in 21h 14min 49secs

2. Steve Cummings (GB) Barloworld at 6secs
3. Daniel Martin (Ire) Garmin Chipotle at 14secs
4. Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) LPR Brakes at 15secs
5. Ian Stannard (GB) Great Britain at 16secs
6. Daniel Fleeman (GB) An Post at 18secs
7. Benny De Schrooder (Bel) An Post at 19secs
8. Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Topsport at 23secs
9. Emilien Berges (Fra) Agritubel at 40secs
10. Russell Downing (GB) Pinarello-Canditv at 1min 24secs


Stage seven: Boasson Hagen takes third stage
Stage six: Petacchi wins in Newcastle Gateshead
Stage five: Boasson Hagen wins again
Stage four: Boasson Hagen snatches victory in Stoke on Trent
Stage three: Agritubel take control over Exmoor
Stage two: Aussie Goss wins in Newbury
Stage one: Petacchi wins in Westminster

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