Cycling: Cipollini gets timing right

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The Independent Online
Mario Cipollini equalled his personal record of four stage wins in the Giro d'Italia when he took the 10th stage by just centimetres from a fast- finishing Endrio Leoni and Fabio Baldato to complete an Italian top-three finish yesterday.

Pavel Tonkov finished in the following group of 140, with the Russian maintaining his overall lead of 41 seconds over Luc Leblanc of France.

"This victory had more value because I no longer have the assistance of Gian Matteo Fagnini and Mario Scirea," Cipollini said. Fagnini, eliminated for dangerous riding, and Scirea, who retired through injury, were key workers for the Italian in massed finishes.

"I hope to score No 5 at Cuneo on Friday, but I would like to win at Camaiore, because that is close to my home," Cipollini said. Victory in tomorrow's circuit race at the Tyrrhenian resort would make Cipollini the 10th most successful stage winner in the Giro's 80 years.

Cipollini and other leading riders can afford to be generous, but in Sunday's stage their charitable efforts were checked by Giro organisers. The riders allowed Spain's Jose Vidal to win a sprint worth 10m lire (pounds 3,700), donated by the sponsoring newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Officials were not impressed and annulled the result, donating the cash to an association of former professionals.

"It is a pity and I am sorry about it because we decided to help the smaller teams win something," Cipollini said.

After yesterday's stage from Castrovillari, the 158 riders were flying north for today's official rest day at Camaiore.