Cycling-Nibali keeps Giro lead but donates pink jersey

Thu, 13 May 17:23:00 2010

Giro d'Italia leader Vincenzo Nibali willingly gave the famous pink jersey away on Thursday, just a day after saying no one could take it from him.

The Liquigas rider remains very much at the top of the overall standings after the fifth stage but donated his leader's vest to the son of Fausto Coppi so it could be laid on the nearby tomb of the cycling great, who died 50 years ago.

Nibali, a late call-up for the Giro after Liquigas team mate Franco Pellizotti was excluded because of a doping probe, seized the lead on Wednesday's team time trial when he was adamant he would stay in pink for a good while.

Despite his gesture to honour the memory of five-times Giro winner Coppi, the Italian will still be in the "maglia rosa" for Friday's sixth stage after receiving an extra leader's jersey.

"I want to keep hold of this one as long as possible. The last week will be tough. But at my side I have a phenomenal team," he told reporters.

The 162-kilometre route from Novara to Novi Ligure in north western Italy passed through Fausto's old stomping grounds and the energetic race was fit to grace the hallowed roads.

France's Quick-Step rider Jerome Pineau was the surprise winner of the stage in 3 hours 45 minutes 59 seconds ahead of Julien Fouchard and Japanese pacesetter Yukiya Arashiro, who went like a train early on and did well to cling on to third.

Pineau and a small group caught up around halfway through the stage and they managed to hold off any further charges and find extra power at the end.

"It's the most beautiful win of my career," he said.

Overall Nibali kept his 13-second lead over team mate and 2006 Giro winner Ivan Basso with Astana favourite Alexander Vinokourov 33 seconds behind in sixth.

The sixth stage winds its way from Fidenza Village to Marina di Carrara.

The three-week race, the world's second biggest stage race after the Tour de France, ends in Verona on May 30. (Writing by Mark Meadows; Editing by Alison Wildey; To query or comment on this story email


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