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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 May, 2005, 22:19 GMT 23:19 UK
Cipollini makes Italian farewell
Mario Cipollini
Cipollini originally retired from the sport two years ago
An emotional Mario Cipollini waved farewell to the Giro d'Italia after 17 years as a professional cyclist. The 38-year-old Italian sprinter retired once before - two years ago - but returned to the peloton again.

He wore a special pink jersey listing the towns where he won each of his 189 career wins, and rode five minutes behind the last official rider.

Cipollini holds the record for the most number of Giro stage wins with 42.

He also won 12 Tour de France stages but over the past year has plagued by injury.

"It's a moving moment. I'm leaving a life behind me," he said, when it was all over.

"It's nice to know that people pay me back with affection but this is the end of the road for me.

"The Giro was a dream for me, so it's not easy to express what I'm feeling.

"I've had a lot from cycling but I think I've also given a lot to it. Now it's time to make room for some younger riders."

Cipollini admitted he had wanted to compete in one more Giro.

He said: "I would have liked to be at the start of the Giro d'Italia in Reggio Calabria looking for victory again, fighting for the pink jersey.

"Maybe, an "old man" like me, who has given a lot to cycling and has also received a lot, has to recognise when is the right moment to stop."

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