Cycling: Wust wins three in a row

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The Independent Online
THE GERMAN sprinter Marcel Wust won his third consecutive stage in the Tour of Spain yesterday and held on to the leader's yellow jersey for a second day.

In the fourth furious sprint finish in as many days, Festina's Wust easily beat Italy's Giovanni Lombardi and the Russian Sergei Ivanov. Wust extended his lead by 20 seconds over Australia's Robbie McEwen, taking a 29-second advantage into today's fifth stage.

South Africa's Robert Hunter was another five seconds back in third, with the Spaniard Igor Gonzalez Galdeano five seconds further behind.

Wust covered the 185 kilometres from Las Rozas in the outskirts of Madrid to Salamanca in 4 hours 21 minutes 43 seconds.

"I don't know what is happening to me right now, but it is marvellous," Wust said at the finish line. "Now I feel closer to my great idol, Marco Cipollini. To win three stages in a row is not easy and even less so in a big race."

Mid-way through yesterday's stage the Swiss Laurent Dufaux and the Belgian Erik Verbrugge were forced to pull out because of injuries. The tour now heads for the mountains.

Results, Digest, page 31