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  Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Savoldelli takes Giro lead
Pavel Tonkov celebrates winning the 17th stage
Tonkov won the stage by more than two minutes

Russia's Pavel Tonkov beat Italian Paolo Savoldelli into second place in the final mountain stage of the Giro d'Italia on Thursday but Savoldelli claimed the overall lead.

Savoldelli took the pink jersey from Cadel Evans, who struggled badly ending the stage 17 minutes behind the winner.

Savoldelli finished two minutes 11 seconds behind Tonkov with Spain's Juan Manuel Garate third, more than three minutes behind.

Evans, a former mountain biker and the first Australian to wear the pink jersey, held the overall lead for just one day.

The peleton wends its way through the Dolomite mountains on the way to the finish at Passo Coe
The peleton wends its way through the Dolomites

American Tyler Hamilton, who came home four minutes behind Tonkov, held on to third place overall but slipped to nearly one-and-a-half minutes behind Savoldelli.

Italy's Pietro Caucchioli moved from fifth to second overall, 55 seconds off the pace.

There are three stages left in the tour, which ends in Milan on Sunday.

The big test for Savoldelli will come in Saturday's 26.5 mile (42.9 kilometre) time trial, when Hamilton could pose a real threat.

The American cyclist won a shorter time trial in Numana last Sunday, beating Savoldelli by one minute 36 seconds.

Solo victory

Tonkov, who won the Giro in 1996, broke away from the main group along with Mexican Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio 31m (50km) from the finish.

He left the Mexican cyclist behind on the final climb and reached the finish line alone, raising his arms as he crossed the line to take victory.

He completed the 137.6m (222km) distance in seven hours 24 minutes 57 seconds.

Perez Cuapio, winner of the previous uphill stage at Corvara in Badia, finished several minutes behind but still captured the green jersey for best climber.



Stage 17 results:

1. Pavel Tonkov (Rus), Lampre, seven hours 27 minutes 57 seconds
2. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita), Index, 2 mins 11 seconds behind
3. Juan Manuel Garate (Spa), Lampre, 3:08
4. Georg Totschnig (Aut), Gerolsteiner, 3:14
5. Denis Lunghi (Ita), Colpack, same time
6. Pietro Caucchioli (Ita), Alessio, same time
7. Herman Dario Munoz (Col), Colombia Team, 3:21
8. Fernando Escartin (Spain), Coast, 4:01
9. Tyler Hamilton (US), CSC, same time
10. Addy Engels (Hol), Rabobank, 4:14

Overall standings:

1. Paolo Savoldelli, (Ita), 80 hours, 37 minutes, 11 seconds
2. Pietro Caucchioli, (Ita), 55 seconds behind
3. Tyler Hamilton, (US), one minute 28 seconds behind
4. Juan Manuel Garate, (Spa), 1:39
5. Pavel Tonkov, (Rus), 3:08
6. Fernando Escartin, (Spa), 3:19
7. Georg Totschnig, (Aut), 5:32
8. Rik Verbrugghe, (Bel), 7:54
9. Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez, (Spa), 8:12
10. Dario Frigo, (Ita), 9:41

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See also:

29 May 02 | Cycling
28 May 02 | Cycling
26 May 02 | Cycling
25 May 02 | Cycling
24 May 02 | Cycling
24 May 02 | Cycling
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