Cycling: Chiappucci's big break fails

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The Independent Online
MIGUEL INDURAIN briefly lost the overall lead during yesterday's 18th stage of the Tour of Italy. Piotr Ugromov of Latvia and the Italian Claudio Chiappucci, second and third in the overall standings, were part of a five-man breakaway group who held a 1min 20sec lead early in the 148- kilometre stage between Sampeyre and Fossano - enough to put them ahead of the Spaniard.

But the group could not sustain their lead and after two other escapes were thwarted, the unusually short stage finished in a mass sprint, won by Italy's Adriano Baffi. Jan Svorada of the Czech Republic was second and another Italian, Fabio Baldato, third.

It was Baffi's third stage win of the tour after his triumphs in the second and eighth legs.

Indurain, the defending Tour of Italy and Tour de France champion, finished in the pack to take a 49-second advantage over Ugrumov into today's crucial time trial, the third from last stage and the one which should be decisive.

However, there is growing pessimism among the other riders about the chances of matching Indurain over his speciality.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 39