PARMA, Italy -- Alessandro Petacchi won a mass sprint Sunday to take the second stage of the Giro d'Italia, with Mark Cavendish finishing second to take the overall lead.
Lampre's Petacchi captured the Giro's longest stage, completing the 151-mile ride from Alba to Parma in 5 hours, 45 minutes, 40 seconds. Cavendish beat Manuel Belletti of Colnago for second place.
Tour de France champion Alberto Contador finished in the main pack, placing 29th in the same time.
Cavendish took over the pink jersey from his HTC-Highroad teammate Marco Pinotto, who won the first stage. The Briton said Petacchi impeded him in the sprint by changing direction three times. Petacchi brushed away the claims.
"To be honest, the only thing that I noticed is that when I saw him coming up before the sprint, I let him pass along the barriers," he said. "I could have closed the door but I didn't."
Cavendish has an overall time of 6 hours, 6 minutes, 27 seconds to lead HTC-Highroad teammates Kanstantsin Sivtsov of Belarus and Craig Lewis of the U.S. by 12 seconds.
Contador was 42 seconds behind Cavendish in 41st.
The Spaniard is competing at the Giro while his doping case is being appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
He tested positive for clenbuterol while winning the 2010 Tour, but was cleared of doping by the Spanish cycling federation after he blamed the result on eating contaminated beef. Cycling's governing body and the World Anti-Doping Agency have appealed to the CAS, which is expected to issue a ruling before this year's Tour in July.
Sebastien Lang of Omega took the early initiative Sunday when he broke away after only two miles and opened up a lead of 20 minutes.
The chasing pack eventually caught him 16 miles from the finish, but only after he had taken the points on offer for the intermediate sprint and the mountain jersey.
An eight-man group then tried to pull away and built a lead of 30 seconds, but was caught by the pack with 5 miles to go.
The 21-stage Giro finishes in Milan on May 29.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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