Cycling: Fondriest returns to winning ways: Briton's brave solo effort

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The Independent Online
THE opening day of the Kellogg's Tour of Britain provided a scenic stage for an Italian renaissance in Glasgow and a plucky British solo by the banks of Loch Lomond.

Maurizio Fondriest won the 207km leg from George Square and back to become the race leader after spending four months out of action following an operation for a back hernia.

Last year, Fondriest was unstoppable with 26 wins, including two one-day classics and the World Cup series, but after the Milan-San Remo Classic, which he won the previous year, the Italian had to call it quits in March.

'This victory is very important to me after spending four months out of racing,' he said after just over a week back in competition. 'It gives me confidence for the racing to come.'

After outsprinting the Australian, Scott Sunderland, and Vyacheslav Ekimov, of Russia, yesterday, he wears the yellow jersey by four seconds from Ekimov, who hopped over Sunderland by virtue of a time deduction gained in the final intermediate sprint.

Ben Luckwell was the centre of attention for 148km as he opened up a lead of 14 minutes over some of Europe's finest. Eight kilometres after the start, the FS Maestro rider managed by Joey McLoughlin, winner of the first of the eight Tours, made his bid. 'I planned to get away early because I remembered Chris Young doing the same thing in this race three years ago and gaining two of the race jerseys,' he said. 'Unfortunately, my lead was not quite big enough

KELLOGG'S TOUR OF BRITAIN First stage (Glasgow, 200km, 128.8 miles): 1 M Fondriest (Lampre, It) 5hr 20min 29sec; 2 S Sunderland (TVM, Aus); 3 V Ekimov (Wordperfect, Rus); 4 M Saligari (GB-MG, It); 5 A Gontchenkov (Lampre, Ukr) all same time; 6 S Swart (Motorola, NZ) +11sec. Team: 1 Lampre 16hr 1min 44sec; 2 GB-MG 16:02:01; 3 Wordperfect 16:02:01. Overall standings: 1 Fondriest 5:20:18; 2 Ekimov +4; 3 Sunderland +5; 4 Gontchenkov +10; 5 Saligari +11; 6 Swart +20. Overall team: 1 Lampre 16:01:32; 2 Wordperfect 16:01:54; 3 TVM 16:01:55. Mountains leader: 1 B Luckwell (FS Maestro, GB) 24pts; 2 Sunderland 21; 3 Fondriest 19. Sprint leader: 1 Luckwell 10pts; 2 Ekimov 5; 3 J Svorada (Lampre, Slovakia) 3. Points leader: 1 Fondriest 15pts; 2 Sunderland 14; 3 Ekimov 13.

(Map omitted)

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