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  Sunday, 12 May, 2002, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Super Mario in pink
Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini won the first stage of the 2002 Giro d'Italia
Cipollini claimed his 35th stage win in the Giro d'Italia
  Photo Gallery: See this story in pictures

Veteran Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini won the opening road stage of the Giro d'Italia from Groningen in Holland to Munster in Germany on Sunday.

Cipollini beat Australians Graeme Brown (Panaria) and Robbie McEwen (Lotto) at the end of the 218-km first stage in the three-week race.

Cipollini, riding for the Acqua & Sapone team, won an intermediate sprint worth six seconds and captured the 12-second time bonus for winning the stage to take the overall lead.

The 35-year-old Cipollini - nicknamed "Super Mario" by his fans - claimed his 172nd career win and his 35th stage victory in the Giro d'Italia.

There were thousands of people along the route - I don't think other sports have so much support
Mario Cipollini
He took the race leaders' pink jersey from Juan Carlos Dominguez of Spain who won the prologue time trial in Groningen on Saturday.

Dominguez finished 25 seconds behind Cipollini after a crash two kilometres from the finish which split the 198 riders.

Michele Bartoli (Fassa Bortolo) and Leonardo Giordani (Colpack) were injured and Bartoli - the Amstel Gold Race winner - was taken to hospital for X-rays.

Cipollini leads the standings by 11 seconds from Austrian Matthias Buxhofer (Phonak), with Dane Frank Hoj (Coast) 12 seconds behind in third.

Monday's second stage goes from Cologne in Germany to Liege in Belgium.

Stage one results:

1. Mario Cipollini (Ita) Acqua e Sapone 5hr 37min 14sec
2. Graeme Brown (Aus) Panaria same time
3. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto s.t.
4. Danilo Hondo (Ger) D Telekom s.t.
5. Sven Teutenberg (Ger) Phonak s.t.
6. Robert Hunter (Rsa) Mapei s.t.
7. Miguel Angel Meza (Mex) Colpak s.t.
8. Mykhaylo Khalilov (Ukr) Colombia s.t.
9. Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank s.t.
10. Matteo Carrara (Ita) Colpak s.t.

Overall Standings after stage one:

1. M Cipollini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone five hours 45 minutes 23 seconds
2. M Buxhofer (Aut) Phonak at 11 seconds
3. F Hoj (Den) Coast at 12 secs
4. R McEwen (Aus) Lotto at 13 secs
5. P Bettini (Italy) Mapei at 20 secs
6. M Strazzer (Ita) Phonak at 20 secs
7. R Hunter (Rsa) Mapei at 21 secs
8. A Petacchi (Ita) Fasso Bortolo at 21 secs
9. S Garzelli (Ita) Mapei at 22 secs
10. S Teutenberg (Ger) Phonak at 23 secs

See also:

11 May 02 |  Cycling
Dutch delight for Dominguez
10 Jun 01 |  Other Sports
Italian joy for Simoni
08 Jun 01 |  Other Sports
Cipollini takes sprint win
28 May 01 |  Other Sports
Super Mario sprints to second win
25 May 01 |  Other Sports
Super Mario shines in Italy
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