Shorts: Basso, Mayo, Ras, Marco

Basso elated with stage win, Mayo changes pre-Tour programme, Newton stays in Ras lead, compromise o

Basso elated with stage win, Mayo changes pre-Tour programme, Newton stays in Ras lead, compromise o


Ivan Basso was an extremely happy man following his stage win at Limone Piemonte yesterday. "Today I proved that we meant business when we made the decision for me to continue in this race," he said. "I've known all along that I'm a strong climber - maybe the strongest one here. And today I wanted to win without having to sprint for it. After my bad luck I had only one thing on my mind: to win in Limone Piemonte. I said this to Bjarne already on Stelvio.

"Now I have done it, and it's a big relief both for me and my team. The whole group did a tremendous job for me today, and they all deserve big thanks. I began this race almost three weeks ago with an ambition to win. That wasn't meant to be, and a stage win can't change that fact - but that's all behind me now. This victory says a lot about how much I've developed as a rider."

- Iban Mayo's revamping of his season is set to continue into June. The Euskaltel team leader has built up slowly this year, and was set to ride the Bicicleta Vasca stage race in the first week of June. However, according to a variety of sources in Spain, Mayo is now delaying his return to stage racing until the Tour of Switzerland later in the month, which means he won't be defending his Dauphin Libr title.

-'s Chris Newton maintained his lead in the FBD Insurance RAS in Ireland yesterday, finishing third in the bunch sprint to take 10th place on the 143km stage from Templemore-Abbeyleix won by Norwegian Morten Christiansen (Sparebanken Vest). In what was the toughest stage of the race so far, with two category-one climbs included in the route, there was no significant change on the overall classification as a group of seven riders breaking clear to contest the stage win that were no danger to Newton's overall lead.Newton's nearest rival Malcolm Elliott (Trinity Capital) took 12th on the stage to remain eight seconds behind the Recycling race leader.

- A compromise has been reached in the dispute over the placing of a statue of the late Marco Pantani in his home town of Cesenatico. Following the local prefect's ruling that a life-size bronze statue of the 1998 Tour and Giro winner could not be erected in the town because the rider had died within in the last 10 years, Cesenatico mayor Damiano Zoffoli has devised a solution to the impasse. After speaking to the rider's family and fans, the mayor has agreed for the statue of Pantani to be erected in Cesenatico's Piazza Marconi on Saturday morning at 10.30, but without an official dedication of or a nameplate on the statue.

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