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Menchov wins Giro d’Italia despite fall
By ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer
ROME – Denis Menchov won the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday despite falling in the final half mile.
The Russian lost control on rain-slicked cobblestones and slid for about 10 yards. He got right back up, ran ahead to his bike but then opted to take a spare bike provided by his team car. Menchov entered the final stage – an individual time trial – with a 20-second lead on Danilo Di Luca and was comfortably ahead of the Italian at the final checkpoint before he fell.
Menchov finished the race with a 41-second advantage over Di Luca, while Franco Pellizotti was third overall, 1:59 back. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong finished 12th overall, 15:59 behind Menchov.
Ignatas Konovalovas of Lithuania won the 8.95-mile time trial through the streets of Rome. Bradley Wiggins of Britain finished second, 1 second behind, and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway was third, 7 seconds back.
The usually taciturn Menchov let out a scream when he crossed the line, raising his arms in triumph.
Despite the rain, Menchov used an aerodynamic rear disc wheel for the time trial, while Di Luca used normal wheels to be more agile on the slick roads. The Italian took risks, cut corners and gained five seconds on Menchov at the start of the time trial, but Menchov’s bigger legs eventually prevailed.
The time trial concluded in front of the Colosseum after taking riders past the Vatican and the Circus Maximus. Armstrong took few risks on the slick roads and finished 53rd in the race against the clock, 1:19 behind. Armstrong’s Astana teammate, Levi Leipheimer, finished sixth overall, 5:28 back.
Lance Armstrong of the United States rides past the ancient Colosseum as he approaches the starting area prior to the last stage of the Giro d’italia, Tour of Italy cycling race, an individual time trial, in Rome, Sunday, May 31, 2009
Menchov won two of the race’s key stages, the mountaintop finish at Alpe di Siusi in stage 5 and the marathon-like 37.7-mile individual time trial in stage 12. He is the third Russian to win the Giro after Eugeni Berzin in 1994 and Pavel Tonkov in 1996.
Menchov has faced questions lately over his alleged involvement in a blood-doping case in Austria, although he has denied involvement.
His Dutch team, Rabobank, has confirmed that it has been contacted by Austrian authorities for questioning.
Final General classification
1 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 86.03.11
2 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini 0.41
3 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 1.59
4 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Cervelo Test Team 3.46
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas 3.59
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 5.28
7 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo 8.43
8 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia - Highroad 10.01
9 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) AG2R La Mondiale 11.13
10 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C. 11.28
11 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 12.50
12 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 15.59
13 Jose Serpa (Col) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 16.11
14 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step 16.15
15 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
16 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Columbia - Highroad 19.10
17 Francesco Masciarelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo
18 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana 28.07
19 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C. 28.39
20 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team Saxo Bank 31.53
21 Francis De Greef (Bel) Silence-Lotto 33.18
22 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD 39.19
23 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Xacobeo Galicia 45.59
24 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 46.03
25 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia - Highroad 48.00
26 Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 50.52
27 Gabriele Bosisio (Ita) LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini 53.46
28 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank 55.07
29 Thomas Rohregger (Aut) Team Milram 57.13
30 Carlos José Ochoa (Ven) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 1.01.48
31 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Astana 1.02.21
32 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 1.05.06
33 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Cervelo Test Team 1.07.24
34 Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Team Katusha 1.10.01
35 Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana 1.14.56
36 Christopher Froome (GBr) Barloworld 1.15.21
37 Alexander Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale 1.19.57
38 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre - N.G.C. 1.24.43
39 Iker Camano (Spa) Fuji-Servetto 1.25.02
40 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia - Highroad 1.27.17
41 Mauricio Ardila (Col) Rabobank 1.28.38
42 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Team Katusha 1.29.54
43 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Cervelo Test Team 1.31.41
44 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas 1.31.44
45 Pablo Lastras (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1.32.23
46 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni 1.34.52
47 Dario David Cioni (Ita) ISD 1.36.14
48 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank 1.37.25
49 José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana 1.38.56
50 Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Fuji-Servetto 1.41.08