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Cipollini crashes out of Tour

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Posted: Sunday July 25, 1999 03:39 PM

  Mario Cipollini He came, he saw, he was conquered: Despite winning four straight stages, Cipollini won't win the Tour de France. Doug Pensinger/Allsport

SESTRIERE, Italy (CNN/SI) -- Mario Cipollini's barely made it home.

The Italian, nicknamed "Super Mario" failed to finish the ninth stage of the Tour de France Tuesday.

Cipollini, who despises climbing, crashed out of the race on the descent of the Montgenevre pass which leads from France to his country. He needed stitches to a head wound.

Cipollini won four successive sprint finishes last week, bridging a 69-year gap in Tour history and becoming the most successful Italian stage winner in the race.

He has spent most of the second week trying to celebrate the feat.

On Sunday, he rode a demanding 56.5 km time trial in Metz as "a lap of honor" for the French public but was fined for staying with then yellow jersey holder Jan Kirsipuu of Estonia.

On Monday, he spent much of the rest day in Le Grand Bornand partying to celebrate his wins but also the 2,099th birthday of Julius Caesar -- an excuse to wear togas and Roman disguises.

On Tuesday, the joke took a wrong turn when most of the Saeco team went to the start in a cart, all dressed in white.

UCI judges did not share Cipollini's sense of humor and they fined him and his team mates 6,000 Swiss francs ($3,817).

Related information
Armstrong wins ninth stage, widens Tour lead
New challenges as Tour heads to the mountains
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Reuters contributed to this report.

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