Giro d'Italia - Stage 8

Stage 8, Mondragone-Cava dei Tirreni, 212 km:

 1. Mario Manzoni (Italy) Roslotto         5.20.09
 2. Stefano Giraldi (Italy) Kross              	 0.23
 3. Maurizio Molinari (Italy) Asics            	 0.25 
 4. Gianpaolo Mondini (Italy) Amore & Vita     	 s.t.
 5. Mariano Piccoli (Italy) Brescialat         	 0.35
 6. Denis Zanette (Italy) AKI 
 7. Nicola Loda (Italy) Maglificio MG 
 8. Andrea Vatteroni (Italy) Scrigno 
 9. Andrea Paluan (Italy) Cantina Tollo 
10. Andrea Brognara (Italy) Batik 
11. Fabio Roscioli (Italy) Asics              all s.t.
12. Marco Lietti (Italy) Ceramiche Refin      	 0.52
13. Enrico Bonetti (Italy) Asics              	 4:43
14. Omar Pumar (Venezuela) Brescialat     	s.t.
15. Glenn Magnusson (Sweden) Amore & Vita      	 6:57
16. Marco di Renzo (Italy) Cantina Tollo      	11:55
17. Gianni Faresin (Italy) Mapei              	14:01
18. Giuseppe di Grande (Italy) Mapei 
19. Pavel Tonkov (Russia) Mapei 

GC after Stage 8

 1. Pavel Tonkov        		   34.32.52
 2. Luc Leblanc (France) Polti     		0.41
 3. Ivan Gotti (Italy) Saeco                    1:07
 4. Roberto Petito (Italy) Saeco                1:13
 5. Paluan                                      1:39
 6. Andrea Noe (Italy) Asics                    1:43
 7. Michele Coppolillo (Italy) Maglificio MG    1:49
 8. Paolo Savoldelli (Italy) Roslotto           2:40
 9. Leonardo Piepoli (Italy) Ceramiche Refin    2:49
10. Alexandre Shefer (Kazakhstan) Asics         3:05
11. Gilberto Simoni (Italy) Maglificio MG       3:14
12. Nicola Miceli (Italy) AKI                   3:50
13. Giuseppe Guerini (Italy) Polti              3:58
14. Piotr Ugrumov (Russia) Roslotto             3:59
15. Enrico Zaina (Italy) Asics                  4:01
16. Giuseppe di Grande (Italy) Mapei            4:02
17. Wladimir Belli (Italy) Brescialat           4:39
18. Loda                                        5:00
19. Filippo Simeoni (Italy) Asics               5:01

Stage 8 Report

PAVEL Tonkov of Russia remained first overall in the Giro d'Italia on Saturday but the eighth stage ended the challenge of Italy's big hope Marco Pantani.

As Tonkov finished 14 minutes behind Italian winner Mario Manzoni, Pantani struggled home some 12 minutes later and immediately went to hospital for X-rays and treatment.

He was nursed by team mates as a race doctor treated him from a moving car following a fall on the descent from the Chiunzi mountain 30 km from the end of the run from Mondragone.

Pantani, one minute 31 seconds behind Tonkov overnight, returned to racing this year after 16 months out of action with his left shin shattered by a crash.

Manzoni arrived 23 seconds clear of compatriots Stefano Giraldi and Maurizio Molinari.

They had been in a breakaway of 16 riders who at one point were more than 18 minutes ahead of Tonkov and his rivals but were little threat to them.

Italian favourite Marco Pantani crashed out of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday as Russian Pavel Tonkov retained his lead for a sixth day.

Pantani limped home in the 212-km eighth stage from Mondragone after an eight-rider spill caused by a cat running across the course some 30 km from the finish.

Pantani had returned only this season from a 16-month lay-off after shattering his left shin in a crash.

Team mates dropped back to help push Pantani as a doctor treated him from a moving car and after finishing some 26 minutes behind the day's winner, Italian Mario Manzoni, he went to hospital in nearby Salerno.

Davide Cassani, Pantani's team manager, said a check-up had revealed no fractures but that Pantani had suffered contusions to his body and legs.

``He will decide tomorrow whether he will continue to compete in the Giro,'' said Cassani.

The shaven-headed Pantani is now 13:43 behind Tonkov, with two weeks still to race before the June 8 finish in Milan, but is unchallenged when it comes to bad luck with injuries.

Over the last 10 years he has suffered fractures of the collar bone, wrist, arm, foot and ribs. There have also been two concussions, a dislocated shoulder and an impacted disc.

Another Italian contender, Roberto Petito, was also in the crash but returned to the major group containing Tonkov.

Swiss champion Armin Meier fractured his right heel and Colombian Herman Buenahora also retired injured. Both required hospital treatment.

Manzoni escaped from a splintering group of 16 who had led for most of the race over an undulating course that took in the narrow winding roads of the Amalfi coast.

Their lead rose to more than 18 minutes over the main field including Tonkov, and Manzoni had 14 minutes to spare over the main contenders at the finish.

He attacked in the final eight kilometres for the biggest win of his seven professional years.

Italian Andrea Paluan made the greatest gain of the 16 escapees. He finished 35 seconds after Manzoni and is now 1:39

Italian cyclist Marco Pantani lost this Saturday all possibility of winning the Giro d'Italia, because of a cat. Pantani, struck by bad luck, fell at the beginning of the descent of the Valico di Chiunzi. On this medium mountain (656 meters) which has very close turns, one of the many street cats crossed in front of the rider and caused the fall of various riders. The Swiss National Champion, Armin Meier and Colombian Hernan Buenahora, the most affected abandoned immediately, but Pantani continued to ride, very carefully. He faced the numerous curves almost not pedalling and received first aid.

Pantani's teammates waited for him and helped him reach the finish, he lost more than 12 min in respect to Pavel Tonkov, the overall leader. But to make things worst, Pantani hit himself on the left leg, the same one he hurt in the accident on October 18, 1995 on a descent at Milano-Torino. The doctor who examined him after his arrival at Cava de Tirreni informed that the x-rays didn't reveal any fracture. But Pantani complained of muscular pains and a large bruise which have made it questionable that Pantani will finish the Giro.

"To lose an adversary in this way, does not make me happy", later commented Tonkov, who remained leader after a very accidental stage. Tonkov's team (Mapei) allowed a 16 rider breakaway right after the start, to assure the stage's tranquility. The gap was finally 19 min and Italian Mario Manzoni took advantage of the escape to attack in the last 10 km. This 27 year old sprinter immediately showed his good humor and humility. "I share the same first name as Cipollini, but he's Super Mario and I'm Mariolino (little Mario)", joked Manzoni, who today achieved his fifth and most important victory of his career.

Colombian Hernan Buenahora suffered on Saturday a contusion to his head, without serious consequences after falling during stage 8. Buenahora also suffered an injury to his lower lip and his left wrist. The collective fall which ocurres at 30 km from the finish also affected Swiss Armin Meier, who suffered a fracture of his right talon, both abandoned the Giro.

Marco Pantani was accepted at the hospital at Cava dei Tirreni to get a check up after today's fall. The first x-rays have excluded the possibility of fracture. But he's suffering of s big contussion to his left thigh and scratches to his right thigh. According to the radiologist who took care of Pantani, he should be able to start on Sunday.