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Cipollini headed to New York … or into the sunset?

According to a press release issued on Tuesday by Threshold Sports, organizers of the New York City Cycling Championship, Mario Cipollini will take part in the New York race, August 4. The release states that Cipollini and teammates Mario Scirea and Gabriele Colombo are scheduled to ride the 100km criterium in Manhattan, joining Lance Armstrong and Marty Nothstein on the list of scheduled racers. However, also on Tuesday, in a short statement issued on his Web site, Cipollini announced his imminent retirement from the sport. In a statement titled "I stop here," Cipollini said "the bitterness

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By VeloNews Interactive

According to a press release issued on Tuesday by Threshold Sports, organizers of the New York City Cycling Championship, Mario Cipollini will take part in the New York race, August 4. The release states that Cipollini and teammates Mario Scirea and Gabriele Colombo are scheduled to ride the 100km criterium in Manhattan, joining Lance Armstrong and Marty Nothstein on the list of scheduled racers.

However, also on Tuesday, in a short statement issued on his Web site, Cipollini announced his imminent retirement from the sport. In a statement titled “I stop here,” Cipollini said “the bitterness of not being able to compete for victory [in the Tour de France]” and frustration with his team’s sponsors have led him to this decision.

He did not say when he planned to retire, but will hold a press conference in the next few days.

Below is the text of the release from Threshold Sports:

“The Lion King,” Mario Cipollini, who has won over 150 pro cycling races around the world, will compete against 3-time Tour de France Champion Lance Armstrong, and 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Marty Nothstein, as they race through the streets of Lower Manhattan, in the first ever New York City Cycling Championship Presented by BMC Software, Threshold Sports announced today.

“Mario Cipollini’s decision to race in New York adds a completely new dimension to this already momentous sporting event,” said Robin Morton, Technical Director for the New York City Cycling Championship presented by BMC Software. “The world-class caliber of the cyclists competing is a great testament to the importance and prestige of this race.”

Cipollini, the world’s best road sprinter and one of the sport’s most charismatic athletes, rides for Italy’s Team Acqua e Sapone. In 2002, Cipollini has already notched 10 victories, including five stage wins in the Tour of Italy and a victory in Milan San Remo, one of the most prestigious World Cup events. His decision to race in New York gives sports fans the thrilling opportunity to watch him compete against the world’s best road racer, Lance Armstrong, and the world’s best track sprinter, Marty Nothstein. Mario Scriea and Gabriele Colombo will ride with Cipollini for Acqua e Sapone.

Nothstein, Match Sprint Olympic Champion at the 2000 Sydney Games, is known as a track and sprinting specialist with unrivaled finishing speed. Nothstein joined the Navigators Pro Cycling team and has refocused his energy on road and criterium racing — an unimaginably challenging transition.

“I’m ready to face off against Cipollini,” said Nothstein. “The fastest rider in the world, myself, again the world’s greatest field sprinter going head to head on the streets of New York City will be unbelievable. I’m glad he’s coming.”

Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service team, will compete just one week after the 2002 Tour de France concludes. He is currently favored to win for his fourth consecutive victory.

The 100-kilometer professional cycling race will feature 60 – 70 top professional cyclists racing through Manhattan’s financial district with the Start/Finish Line at Wall & Water Streets. Working with the New York City Police Department, the Department of Transportation, the NYC Sports Commission and the Alliance for Downtown New York, Threshold Sports has designed a one-mile course through Lower Manhattan streets, which will be challenging to the cyclists and viewer friendly for spectators. The race will be one of ten official events on the 2002 Pro Cycling Tour and one of only two U.S. races in which Armstrong will race in 2002. The event will feature a pro women’s race and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center as official charity.