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Plans for Mario Cipollini to undertake a 'lap of honour' along tonight's Giro prologue course in Reggio Calabria have been altered. The veteran sprinter who announced his retirement last week will now parade down the course five minutes after last-man-off Damiano Cunego goes down the start ramp. And just in case there is any danger of the fans failing to notice Cipollini as he heads down the kilometre-long course, he will be kitted out in fluorescent kit, which has to be a fitting way for the man who brought his zebra-striped skinsuits, Roman togas on the podium and skeleton kit to bow out.
- The Liberty Seguros team have announced they have reached an agreement with Nuno Ribeiro to leave the team following his ejection from the Giro two days ago after registering an elevated red blood cell count. According to a statement from the team, the 27-year-old Portuguese rider met with representatives from the Liberty team's sponsors in Barcelona yesterday and agreed to the termination of his contract, which was due to run until December 2006.
The Liberty team says that it will continue to offer support to Ribeiro while he undergoes anti-doping controls under the auspices of the International Cycling Union.
- The Giro will be the first race in which the Quick Step team will be officially backed by sub-sponsor Innergetic, a brand of mattress produced by Latexco, whose logo has appeared on the jersey since the start of the season. The Quick Step riders taking part in tonight's prologue will be kitted out with new Quick Step-Innergetic jerseys.
Latexco president Luc Maes said in a statement the company is "convinced that the Innergetic mattresses used by our athletes during the Giro d'Italia will help the team obtain prestigious objectives." That all sounds very good for the riders, who should get a good night's sleep, but our sympathies to the poor old soigneurs who have to lug those mattresses in and out of hotels every day.
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