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Petacchi Wins Another Stage at Tour de France - 2003-07-11


He's not the overall leader, but Italian cyclist Alessandro Petacchi of Italy has now won four of the six stages in the Tour de France.

Petacchi displayed his closing sprint ability again in Friday's 230-kilometer leg that ended in Lyon, crossing the line ahead of the main pack in 5:08:35 hours. Australian Baden Cooke was second and Italian Fabrizio Guidi third.

Once again four-time defending champion Lance Armstrong of the United States and his Postal Service team were content to conserve energy in the 32 degree Celcius heat ahead of the difficult mountain stages that begin Saturday. Armstrong was 39th - but with the same time as the winner - and remains second overall, only one second behind teammate Victor Hugo Pena of Colombia.

The U.S. Postal Service riders still hold the top eight overall positions, and the team's other rider is in 11th position.

It was a heartbreaking day for Australian Stuart O'Grady and Frenchman Anthony Geslin, who had led the stage for nearly 200 kilometers after breaking away after 35 kilometers. At one point they held a lead of 18 minutes but were caught in the streets of Lyon, only 500 meters from the finish line.

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