Cycling: Gotti holds Tonkov at bay

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The Independent Online
Jose Gonzalez confirmed his status as the top climber in the Giro d'Italia yesterday with a convincing win in the 20th stage.

While the Colombian retained the green jersey assigned to the race's "King of the Mountains," Italy's Ivan Gotti remained on course for the overall victory.

Gotti, trying to become the first Italian in six years to triumph in the Giro, stayed with Pavel Tonkov, the defending champion and his main rival, throughout the 176 kilometres in the Dolomites from Brunico to Passo del Tonale.

Russia's Tonkov, who started and ended the day 1min 32sec behind Gotti, rode despite elbow and knee injuries suffered in a tumble during a downhill section in the 19th leg. Twenty-one riders pulled out following Thursday's tough stage, leaving 114 out of the 180 starters.

Tonkov attempted to pull away from Gotti on three occassions, but the Italian kept pace each time. The top two in the overall standings finished the day 10min 10sec behind Gonzalez, who pulled away from the lead group on the closing climb and was timed at 4hr 45min 03sec, having started his attack after about 10 kilometres.

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