Rare stage win for Sweeden


GLENN MAGNUSSON claimed Sweden's first Giro d'Italia stage victory in 25 years with a surprise win in the second stage to Nafpaktos, Greece yesterday.

Magausson, called into the race at only three days' notice, took the 231-kilometre leg from Elefsia by a bike length from Italian Stefano Zanini, with Spain's Angel Edo third. Italy's Silvio Martinello", kept the overall lead.

Martinello won the intermediate sprint to gain a bonus of six seconds which, deducted from his aggregate race time, kept him in the pink jersey of Giro leader.

Magnusson's victory was worth 12 seconds in time deductions but was not enough to oust Martinello.

However, it was a triumph for the Swede's team as a week ago they were reserves for the 3,955-kilometre race. Late last week they replaced a team which had run out of funds.

"I am usually good in sprints. Today I saw a good chance and took it," Magnusson, 26, said.

Zanini, winner of the Amstel Gold classic three weeks ago, earned a total of 10 seconds in deductions to strengthen his challenge.

All the action was reserved for the final 50 kilometres as the riders averaged only 33 kph for the first five hours and arrived more than 40 minutes late at the holiday resort.

Martinello's team-mates chased down a breakaway of three riders - Beat Zberg of Switzerland, Massimo Donati of Italy and Nicolai Bo Larsen of Denmark - in the final six kilometres.