BURGOS, Spain -- Alessandro Petacchi sprinted to victory
Sunday in the second stage of the Spanish Vuelta, and Max van
Heeswijk of the U.S. Postal Service team took the overall lead in
the year's last major European cycling race.
Petacchi, the Italian captain of the Fassa Bortolo team, beat
Germany's Erik Zabel and Spain's Oscar Freire in the 128-mile ride
from Leon to Burgos, finishing in 5 hours, 2 minutes and 4 seconds.
U.S. Postal, competing without Tour de France champion Lance
Armstrong, won Saturday's team time trial and features riders in
the first seven positions in the overall standings. Van Heeswijk
claimed the yellow jersey from teammate Floyd Landis.
Other top finishers in the stage -- the longest in this year's
59th edition _ included Stuart O'Grady of Australia, Pedro Horrillo
of Spain and Antonio Cruz of the United States.
Van Heeswijk, two seconds ahead of Benoit Joahim, capitalized on
time bonuses awarded to sprint finishers. Monday's third stage will
be another good opportunity for sprinters, a 98-mile leg from
Burgos to Soria.
The Vuelta -- one of the three main European cycling tours along
with the Giro and Tour de France -- is a final preparation for next
month's world road cycling championships.