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83rd Giro d'Italia - GT

Italy, May 13 - June 4, 2000

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Stage 3 - May 16: Paestum to Scalea, 177 km

Cipollini denied once more

By Gabriella Ekström, correspondent
Mario Cipollini
Photo: © AFP

Mobilvetta's Paolo Valoti broke away together with Andrea Ferrigato of Fassa Bortolo after 50 kilometers of today's stage. For a long time they kept a steady gap of three to four minutes. The road they travelled followed the coast, and today the view was a bigger problem for the riders than the wind.

Magnificent mountains loomed large over the riders and the weather was clear and much better than yesterday. For a while it was really hot, but believe it or not, with 40 kilometers to go it started to rain again. It was not appreciated by the short sleeved riders who had to zip their jerseys back up again.

Valoti tried to play a trick on Ferrigato and jumped away with a kilometer to go to the intergiro sprint, but failed to stay away and was an easy target for the strong Fassa Bortolo rider. Ferrigato's teammate, Matteo Tosatto, riding in the blue intergiro jersey took third back in the peloton.

The terrain got harder as the riders approached the finish. Matthew White from Vini Caldirola took advantage of the ups and downs and attacked from the peloton with 25 kilometers to go. Valoti suffered big time behind Ferrigato, as the decreased peloton started to chase them, and when Valoti's teammate Filippo Baldo realized it, he went for a new attack. He caught Ferrigato really quickly and went on with the peloton following close behind.

After a couple of minutes a smaller group containing Jose Luis Rubiera and Oscar Sevilla from Kelme, Ivan Gotti riding for Polti and Pavel Tonkov from Mapei bridged up to Baldo, and shortly after the peloton regrouped. Gotti, Tonkov and Rubiera wouldn't mind climbing a bit higher on the GC today, although none of them would like to climb all the way to the top yet.

Mobilvetta rode an aggressive race all day, and sent Mirko Gualdi away on the penultimate lap around the town of Scalea. He was soon to be joined by Mapei's Chann McRae, Banesto's Candido Barbosa, Wim Vansevenant from Farm Frites and Angel Vicioso from Kelme, and that little breakaway actually triggered Mario Cipollini to attack from the chasing group.

Unfortunately his brave attack ended in the grass as he misjudged a sharp turn. He'll live, only his ego got some minor injuries. With the little break just ahead of them, the peloton passed over the line for the first time and started the 13 kilometer lap that would lead them back to the finish in Scalea. Vicioso jumped away as soon as he understood that the break would be caught, and he spent some time alone at the front, while Davide Rebellin from Liquigas made a lot of effort to get away from the chasing group as well. He did not succeed, and neither did Cantina Tollo's Danilo Di Luca when he had a go with Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Vitalicio) as well as Vicioso who followed them after being caught.

Saeco had everything set up for the sprint with five kilometers to go. Paolo Savoldelli rode at the front, thinking that he owed Cipo one, since he got the sprinter's wheel when he flatted yesterday. Could Cipo have given him the wheel as an excuse to get a new bike that matched his rain jacket?

Matteo Tosatto was perfectly placed in his own little two-man train outside Mario's train and behind him followed Lampre's Jan Svorada with Ciaran Power carrying the flag of Linda McCartney. Tosatto misunderstood his leadout, Konyshev shortly before the finish and lost valuable seconds and placings, but it's not likely that he could have matched Jan Svorada anyway.

The Czech came flying past the sprinters with a tremendous speed, and when Cipo saw that, he did something he normally wouldnt do. He cut out in the way of Svorada and leaned hard against him, even though he could have won the race in a fair way. Svorada fought hard not to lose his balance, and managed to behave himself over the line. Cipollini did cross the line first, but he only rose his hands halfway, and immedeately excused himself to the Czech who later got the victory as Mario was declassified. The pink jersey stays with Christian Moreni for another day.

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