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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July, 2004, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Top Italians quit Tour
Alessandro Petacchi
Petacchi failed to hit form in France
World number one Alessandro Petacchi and fellow Italian Mario Cipollini have pulled out of the Tour de France.

Petacchi, who rides for the Fassa Bortolo team, damaged a shoulder in a crash on Thursday while Cipollini has also quit because of injury.

A winner of four stages last year, he had made a disappointing start to the 2004 race and was lying 83rd in the Tour when he decided to withdraw.

Cipollini, of the Domina Vacanze team, has failed to finish a Tour de France.

Although an X-ray showed no major damage, Petacchi decided that he would be unable to continue because he cannot grip the handle bars properly.

He said: "It was a stupid fall. My shoulder just popped out and popped back in again but the pain was terrible.

"The Tour's over but I'm not too downhearted. I'm going to rest for a few days and just take it from there."

Former world champion Cipollini withdrew due to an injury to his left leg sustained in the Giro d'Italia in May.

He usually pulls out before the mountain stages but this time has gone early as the Tour does not reach the Pyrenees until 16 July.

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