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Petacchi Wins Tour de France 1st Stage; Armstrong 4th Overall

Petacchi Wins Tour de France 1st Stage
Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara of team Saxo Bank retained the race leader's yellow jersey following stage one of the Tour de France. Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

July 4 (Bloomberg) -- Italy’s Alessandro Petacchi won today’s opening stage of the Tour de France, seven years after his last success at cycling’s most prestigious race.

The 36-year-old Lampre team rider, winner of four stages in 2003, came first on today’s 223.5-kilometer (139-mile) stage from Rotterdam to Brussels after a series of crashes near the end ruled several contenders out of the sprint finish.

Britain’s Mark Cavendish of the HTC-Columbia team was among sprinters who finished down the field after being involved in the pile-ups. Cavendish’s teammate Mark Renshaw of Australia was second, with Norway’s Thor Hushovd of Cervelo in third. Team RadioShack’s seven-time champion Lance Armstrong was 55th.

Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara of Team Saxo Bank, winner of yesterday’s prologue, retains the race leader’s yellow jersey. He leads Tony Martin of HTC-Columbia by 10 seconds, with David Millar of Garmin-Transitions 10 seconds further back. Armstrong is fourth.

Defending champion Alberto Contador of Astana, a teammate of Armstrong last year, is sixth overall.

Tomorrow’s second stage is a 201-kilometer ride from Brussels to Spa. The 3,642-kilometer race ends on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 25.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Cone in London at jcone@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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