Cycling: Top stars to miss Giro d'Italia race

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Bjarne Riis, the Tour de France winner from Denmark, the world No 1, Alex Zuelle of Switzerland, and Laurent Jalabert, of France, look set to miss this year's Giro d'Italia race in Venice starting 18 May. Riis's Telekom team and the Once squad, for which both Zuelle and Jalabert ride, have turned down the invitation to take part in the 3,885km race.

The Tour de France will start in Ireland next year, the first time it has started outside the European mainland. The Tour will begin on 12 July, later than usual to avoid the football World Cup finals in France.