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Italy’s Piccoli wins 10th stage as Zulle keeps overall lead

September 15, 1997

ALMENDRALEJO, Spain (AP) _ Italy’s Mariano Piccoli won the 10th stage of the Tour of Spain Monday as Switzerland’s Alex Zulle maintained his overall lead.

Piccoli finished the 134-mile race from Cordoba to the southwestern town of Almendralejo, including a third-category peak, el Alto del Mirador, in 4 hours, 56 minutes, 22 seconds.

``I’m very happy with this first important win of the season,″ Piccoli told the state news agency EFE. ``This tour has very fast people and in very good conditions. I didn’t know Vicario very well. I knew he was fast. But I could beat him without too much difficulty.″

Spain’s Juan Vicario finished second Monday in the same time as Piccoli. Czech Jan Svorada and Italians Biagio Conte and Caludio Camin were three seconds behind Piccoli.

Zulle leads the 22-stage race with an overall time of 43 hours, 38 minutes, 57 seconds, followed by his countryman Laurent Dufaux at 32 seconds behind.

Former world champion Abraham Olano, one of the favorites this year, quit the Tour of Spain on Friday

Tuesday’s leg is a 123-mile race from Almendralejo to the western city of Plasencia.

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