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Last Updated: Friday, 30 January, 2004, 16:41 GMT
Cipollini seeks Tour place
Mario Cipollini
Cipollini has notched up 185 sprint victories in the last 15 years
Mario Cipollini wants the organisers of the Tour de France to give him a place in this year's race as a fitting end to his career.

The 36-year-old has not ridden in the blue riband event since 1999 but believes his sprinting status is worthy of a place.

"I'm convinced I can still win stages in the Tour de France," said Cippolini.

"I think I deserve a place in this year's race as a kind of lifetime achievement award."

Cippolini's Domina Vacanze team failed to gain a wildcard invitation to the Tour last year despite the fact that he was the reigning world champion.

The Italian cyclist and his team, who have been relegated from the world's top 30 teams, have already begun lobbying Tour chiefs.

"I don't know how much chance we've got," said Cippolini.

"But Domina Vacanze boss Ernesto Preatoni and I are going to do everything we can to convince the Tour de France director Jean Marie Leblanc to give us a place."

Cipollini, who has never finished any of the seven Tours he has entered, has decided not to compete at the Olympics in order to be at his best for the French race.

Cipollini hit with fine
23 Dec 03  |  Cycling
Cipollini's team demoted
09 Jan 04  |  Cycling
Cipollini denied Tour reprieve
02 Jun 03  |  Cycling

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