The Italian Almanac

Mario Cipollini

Italian Sport - March 8

Veteran Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini showed his younger rivals overnight he can still win races. Cipollini, 38 this month and with 16 years as a professional, stole a shock victory in the "Giro di Lucca" (Tour of Lucca) race in Tuscany.

Cipollini beat fellow Italians Paride Grillo and major sprint rival Alessandro Petacchi after a hilly 177km race that served as a warm up for the seven-day Tirreno-Adriatico - which begins tomorrow - and next week's Milan-San Remo.

"I'm very surprised I won but I'm also very happy. People keep telling me I'm too old to win at 38 but I'm enjoying proving them wrong," said Cipollini. "In the last few weeks I've been training hard for Milan-San Remo and I think my form is pretty good. I needed to see if I'm still competitive with the other sprinters and I think I got the answer I was looking for."