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Photo ©: Swift

News Flash for May 22, 2003

Edited by Chris Henry

Cipollini out of Giro

Mario Cipollini, who crashed in the dramatic finale of Wednesday's stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia, has decided to abandon the race. Cipollini went for x-rays following the race, which did not reveal any fractures. However, after a sleepless night and continued pain in his back, Cipo decided not to start today's day of heavy climbing, which finishes atop the feared Monte Zoncolan.

Cipollini's untimely exit comes with the consolation that the world champion was able to equal and then surpass the long-standing record of Alfredo Binda for the most career Giro stage wins. After a difficult first week, which saw fellow Italian Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo) get the better of Cipollini on several occasions, the Lion King rallied to take back to back stage wins (stages 8, 9) and put his own name in the history books as the most prolific Giro stage winner of all time.

With his team's exclusion from the Tour de France, however, not everything is going according to plan for the world champion. Cipollini must rethink the remainder of his season, having based his season on three primary objectives: Milan-San Remo, the Giro, and the Tour de France.

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)