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Savoldelli triumphs in Tour de Romandie

The Italian cyclist, Paolo Savoldelli, has won this year's Tour de Romandie. Mario Cipollini took the fifth and final stage, but failed to get a place in the top ten overall. Switzerland's Laurent Dufaux was third in the final standings.

Sunday’s fifth and final stage left the top ten places unchanged. Italy’s Paolo Savoldelli kept his 12-second lead, giving him the title. Second place went to Joseba Beloki of Spain, who won Friday’s stage.

Switzerland’s Laurent Dufaux finished third, 27 seconds behind the winner. The next best-placed Swiss was Roland Meier, who finished eighth overall, one minute and 37 seconds behind the winner.

The final stage from Aigle to Geneva took the leaders just under four hours and two minutes to complete. Cipollini led the pack in a sprint finish, which saw Latvia’s Romans Vainsteins finishing second, and Switzerland’s Markus Zberg taking third.

The overall winner, Savoldelli, who won the race on his 27th birthday, finished in the main group behind Cipollini in the final stage – a gruelling 177-kilometre course.

The day’s racing began with a heavy climb, but flattened out to finish in a mass sprint along the shores of Lake Geneva.

A group of riders, including Switzerland’s Fabian Jeker, Russia’s Dmitri Konyshev and Jean-Michel Tessier of France, broke away from the pack about 50 kilometres into the race, but were caught by the main group around two kilometres from the finish line.

Cipollini overhauled Romans just before the line to claim the stage win.

Savoldelli takes the title from France’s Laurent Jalabert, who withdrew on Saturday after disappointing results in the early stages.

swissinfo with agencies

Final standings:
1. Paolo Savoldelli, Italy – 21 hours, one minute, 41 seconds
2. Joseba Beloki, Spain – 12 seconds behind
3. Laurent Dufaux, Switzerland – 27 seconds behind
4. Andrea Noe, Italy, 37 seconds behind
5. Chann McRae, United States, one minute, two seconds behind
6. Gilberto Simoni, Italy, one minute, 25 seconds behind
7. Jose Luis Rubiera, Spain, one minute, 31 seconds behind
8. Roland Meier, Switzerland, one minute, 37 seconds behind
9. Raimondas Rumsas, Lithuania, one minute, 38 seconds behind
10. Vladimir Belli, Italy, same time

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR