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  Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Savoldelli nears glory
American Tyler Hamilton (left) and Giro leader Paolo Savoldelli
Savoldelli (right) keeps his eye on Hamilton

Spain's Aitor Gonzalez Jimenez won Saturday's individual time trial on the penultimate stage of the Giro d'Italia as Italian Paolo Savoldelli virtually sealed overall victory.

Jimenez, who rides for the Kelme-Costa Blanca team, completed the 43.9-km time-trial from Cambiago to Monticello Brianza, in northern Italy, in 55 minutes 56 seconds.

And the stage win all but guarantees victory in the race ahead of Sunday's flat ride from Cantu to Milan.

"I'll need time to digest this great joy," said Savoldelli, who considered the possibility of retiring after a poor season last year.

"After the downs, my career looks upward now."

Sergej Honchar of Ukraine was 45 seconds adrift, with Savoldelli third, 1:18 minutes behind the winner.

Savoldelli (Index) beat Tyler Hamilton (CSC) by 13 seconds to increase his lead to 1:41 over the American, his nearest rival for the overall leader's pink jersey.

Hamilton, a time-trial specialist who had won his first Giro stage against the clock last Sunday, finished fourth, with a gap of 1:31 minutes.

Savoldelli snatched the pink jersey from Australian Cadel Evans in Thursday's uphill stage at Folgaria, in the Dolomite mountains.

Sunday's last stage is traditionally a parade for the Giro leader, with few attacks and sprinters focusing on the finishing burst.

See also:

01 Jun 02 | Cycling
31 May 02 | Cycling
30 May 02 | Cycling
29 May 02 | Cycling
28 May 02 | Cycling
26 May 02 | Cycling
25 May 02 | Cycling
24 May 02 | Cycling
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