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Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 16:04 UK

Armstrong suffers heavy Giro fall

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong changes his wheels after falling down during the 19th stage

Lance Armstrong escaped serious injury after a fall midway through the 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia, which was won by Spain's Carlos Sastre.

Armstrong, a seven-time winner of the Tour de France, fell off his saddle as he went round a hairpin curve.

The 37-year-old hit the pavement on his left shoulder - the opposite side from his crash in March when he broke his collarbone - and sustained bruising.

Russian Denis Menchov has the leader's pink jersey with just two stages left.

Armstrong was able to rejoin the main pack for the 164-km stage, which ran from Avellino to Mount Vesuvius, after changing his rear wheel.

After his crash in March in Spain, a stainless steel plate and 12 screws were inserted into Armstrong's right collarbone.

Armstrong returned to racing at the start of this year to promote his Livestrong cancer charity after three and a half years of retirement.

"He's just got a little stiffness in the hip and knee and was glad to not end up in another ambulance," said Armstrong's Astana team spokesman Philippe Maertens.

He finished 16th - one minute, 42 seconds after stage winner Sastre, and remained 12th overall.

Sastre, the 2008 Tour de France champion came home in a time of four hours 33 minutes and 23 seconds, finishing ahead of Italian Franco Pellizotti, with Danilo Di Luca in third.

Di Luca did manage to snatch the eight second time bonus that comes with that though to cut Menchov's lead to just 18 seconds, ahead of Saturday's 203km penultimate stage and Sunday's time-trial finish in Rome.

But that may prove to be too much to catch the Russian who finished Friday's stage in fourth place, having ridden superbly throughout to cling onto the wheel of second-placed Di Luca.

Menchov however, is taking nothing for granted.

"You can't say anything (is decided) until Rome," he said.

"Di Luca and I are very close and are contesting this Giro over a question of seconds. Naturally, it's better for me to be in front than behind."

Stage 19 results (Friday):

1. Carlos Sastre (Spain / Cervelo) 4 hrs 33 mins 23 secs
2. Franco Pellizotti (Italy / Liquigas) +21 secs
3. Danilo Di Luca (Italy / Team LPR) +30
4. Denis Menchov (Russia / Rabobank) same time
5. Ivan Basso (Italy / Liquigas) +35
6. Levi Leipheimer (U.S. / Astana) +53
7. Tadej Valjavec (Slovenia / AG2R) +1:14
8. Serge Pauwels (Belgium / Cervelo) + 1:15
9. Jose Serpa (Colombia / Diquigiovanni) same time
10. Stefano Garzelli (Italy / Acqua & Sapone) same time

Overall Standings:

1. Denis Menchov (Russia / Rabobank) 81 hrs 13 mins 55 secs
2. Danilo Di Luca (Italy / Team LPR) +18 secs
3. Franco Pellizotti (Italy / Liquigas) +1:39
4. Carlos Sastre (Spain / Cervelo) +2:40
5. Ivan Basso (Italy / Liquigas) +3:33
6. Levi Leipheimer (U.S. / Astana) +4:55

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see also
Scarponi secures Giro stage win
28 May 09 |  Cycling
Pellizotti secures Giro stage win
27 May 09 |  Cycling
Sastre up to third after Giro win
25 May 09 |  Cycling
Bertagnolli earns Giro stage win
24 May 09 |  Cycling
Gerrans climbs to Giro stage win
23 May 09 |  Cycling
Team pulls Cavendish out of Giro
22 May 09 |  Cycling
Cavendish takes third Giro stage
22 May 09 |  Cycling
Speedy Menchov steals Giro lead
21 May 09 |  Cycling
Protest overshadows Cavendish win
17 May 09 |  Cycling
Horrillo out of coma after crash
17 May 09 |  Cycling
Petacchi grabs overall Giro lead
11 May 09 |  Cycling
Cavendish keeps overall Giro lead
10 May 09 |  Cycling
Cavendish nabs historic Giro lead
09 May 09 |  Cycling
Armstrong team given UCI deadline
11 May 09 |  Cycling
Armstrong expects Giro stage win
05 May 09 |  Cycling
Armstrong to make shock comeback
10 Sep 08 |  Cycling

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The Age Sastre tames another mountain - 17 hrs ago
Dallas Morning News Armstrong struggling to stay on his bike at Giro d'Italia - 19 hrs ago
Aliant Sastre of Canadian-co-owned Cervelo wins stage atop Mount Vesuvius - 33 hrs ago
CBS Sports Menchov retains Giro lead; Sastre wins 19th stage - 44 hrs ago
ABC News Armstrong Falls During Giro, Gets Back on Bike - 46 hrs ago


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