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By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2001 AFP
Nico Mattan of Cofidis won the Tour of Piedmont in northern Italy on Thursday after all but 17 riders were declassed for falling too far behind in the 190km race. Mattan was one of the instigators of the decisive breakaway, which began just 20km into the race. The leaders quickly began to build up their lead, until it exceeded 17 minutes.
At the 135km mark, the lead had reached 17:40, prompting the rare decision from the race directors to force the peloton out of the race. The race directors said there was no justification for the passivity of the main field, and that they had to open parts of the race route to regular traffic.
That left just 17 riders to decide the final outcome of the race, and at the finish, Mattan, winner of this year’s Three Days of de Panne and GP Plouay, outsprinted Italy’s Fabio Sacchi for the win.
Tour of Piedmont;
1. Nico Mattan (B), Cofidis, 190km in 4:23:07; 2. Fabio Sacchi (I), Saeco; 3. Matthe Pronk (Nl), Rabobank; 4. Luca Paolini (I), Mapei-Quick Step; 5. Mauro Radaelli (I), Tacconi-Vini Caldirola; 6. Oscar Pozzi (I), Fassa Bortolo; 7. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), iBanesto.com, all s.t.; 8. Paolo Valoti (I), Alessio, at 0:01; 9. Nicki Sorensen (Dk), CSC-Tiscali; 10. Jorg Jaksche (G), ONCE-Eroski, both s.t.