Cycling: Volpi takes initiative: Italian surprises in Leeds

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The Independent Online
ALBERTO VOLPI, of Italy, yesterday surprised the World Cup leader Maurizio Fondriest with a late attack to take victory in the 144-mile Leeds Classic, the seventh race in the cup series, writes Robin Nicholl.

Volpi, 31, raced away as his compatriots Fondriest and Max Sciandri, and the Dane, Jesper Skibby, stalled in the last half-mile, each waiting for the other to attack. Fondriest took third place behind Skibby to increase his cup lead to 57 points.

Volpi seized his chance after his Mecair team-leader Moreno Argentin, suffering the effects of a recent crash when he broke his nose and injured his leg, pulled out before the race reached the day's biggest climb, Holme Moss, which had to be tackled twice. 'This is my best victory and my best season since I became a professional in 1984,' Volpi said.

Fondriest, who won the opening round, the Milan to San Remo classic in March, said: 'The cup is not settled yet and I see Sciandri as my main threat.'

LEEDS INTERNATIONAL CLASSIC (144 miles) 1 A Volpi (It) Mecair 5hr 41min 22sec; 2 J Skibby (Den) TVM +3sec; 3 M Fondriest (It) Lampre; 4 M Sciandri (It) Motorola both same time; 5 L Armstrong (US) Motorola +36sec; 6 G Theunisse (Neth) TVM s/t; 7 H Imboden (Swit) Mecair +38sec; 8 J Museeuw (Bel) GB-MG +6min 30sec; 9 A Kappes (Ger) Mecair; 10 S Sunderland (Aus) TVM both s/t. Teams: 1 Mecair 17pts; 2 TVM 9; 3 Motorola 8.

Overall World Cup standings (after seven races): 1 Fondriest 144pts; 2 Museeuw 87; 3 Scian=dri 81; 4 F Ballerini (It) GB-MG 73; 5 R Sorensen (Den) Carrera 68; 6 C Chiappucci (It) Carrera 66; 7= R Jaermann (Swit) Ariostea, G Duclos-Lassalle (Fr) Gan 50; 9= F Maassen (Neth) WordPerfect, G Furlan (It) Ariostea 40.

Teams overall: 1 GB-MG 55pts; 2 Histor-Laser 46; 3 Ariostea 33.