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  Saturday, 11 May, 2002, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
Dutch delight for Dominguez
Juan Carlos Dominguez
Dominguez won three time trials in Spain last year
  Photo Gallery: See this story in pictures

Spanish time trial specialist Juan Carlos Dominguez won Saturday's prologue stage of the Giro d'Italia in a time of eight minutes 12 seconds in Groningen, Holland.

Last year's prologue winner Rik Verbrugghe of Belgium, riding for the Lotto team, finished the 6.5km course one second back, with Italian Paolo Savoldelli three seconds further adrift.

Dominguez, 31, has only completed one race in four Giro starts and his best result was ninth place in the 2000 prologue, which was held in Vatican City.

But he will start Sunday's 211km first road stage to Munster in Germany in the pink jersey of the overall leader.

I hope to keep the pink jersey for two days but beyond that, I don't know
Juan Carlos Dominguez
But Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini of Acqua & Sapone grabbed the spotlight, riding the prologue in a tiger-striped skin suit.

He finished 13th, 15 seconds behind Dominguez after a puncture hampered his progress.

The overall race favourites for the three week Giro all finished close together.

The 2001 Giro winner Gilberto Simoni of Saeco set a time of 8:46, Francesco Casagrande, riding for Fassa Bortolo, finished in 8:33, Stefano Garzelli of Mapei clocked 8:31, and Dario Frigo of Tacconi Sport finished on 8:32.

Former Giro winner Marco Pantani, leader of the Mercatone Uno team, set a time of 8:58.

But Pantani's presence in this year's Tour de France, a race he won in 1998, is in doubt.

The anti-doping investigating arm of Italy's Olympic Committee (Coni) have called for Pantani to be banned for alleged insulin use.

Prologue results:

1. Juan Carlos Dominguez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 8 minutes 12 seconds
2. Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto-Adecco +0.01
3. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Index Alexia +0.04
4. Matthias Buxhofer (Aut) Phonak Hearing Systems +0.08
5. Frank Hoj (Den) Team Coast +0.09
6. Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner +0.10
7. Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank +0.12
8. Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank +0.12
9. Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC Tiscali +0.13
10. Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) Team Telekom +0.14

See also:

02 May 02 |  Cycling
Pantani faces ban
10 Jun 01 |  Other Sports
Italian joy for Simoni
19 May 01 |  Other Sports
Verbrugghe claims Giro pink jersey
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