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Bianchi is 'serious but stable'

MOTOR SPORT: Formula One driver Jules Bianchi is in "serious but stable condition" following emergency surgery for a severe head injury after a crash during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Bianchi's parents, Philippe and Christine, arrived in Japan to see their son, who is at Mie General Medical Centre following Sunday's crash into a trackside recovery crane.

Hospital officials declined to comment on Bianchi's condition yesterday.

"Bianchi is in a serious but stable condition," FIA spokesman Matteo Bonciani said. "That's all I can say, and I'm doing this update on Jules' parents' behalf."

Bonciani added that Gerard Saillant, the president of FIA's medical commission who oversaw Michael Schumacher's treatment when the German was in a coma, also flew to Japan with Bianchi's agent, Nicolas Todt.

Bianchi crashed on the 44th lap in Sunday's rain-shortened race at the Suzuka circuit. His car went off at Turn 7, where Sauber driver Adrian Sutil had crashed two laps earlier.

According to a report issued by FIA, Bianchi lost control of his car, travelled across the run-off area and hit the back of the tractor that was being used to remove Sutil's car.

Tour route to suit Contador

CYCLING: The 2015 Tour of Italy route which was unveiled yesterday should perfectly suit Alberto Contador with the Spaniard attempting a rare Giro/Tour de France double.

Contador, one of only five men with titles in the three grand tours (Italy, France, Spain) announced last month he would try to win the first two three-week races of the season, a feat last achieved by the late Marco Pantani in 1998.

The balanced route, featuring six hilltop finishes and a long individual time trial, is expected to favour him, possibly over this year's champion Nairo Quintana of Colombia, who is weaker in the solo effort against the clock.

The 59.2-km time trial from Treviso to Valdobbiadene, one week from the finish in Milan, could turn the table in favour of Contador but the final week should be particularly gruelling.

It will notably feature a finish in Sestrieres after a climb to the Colle delle Finestre, the highest point of next year's race at 2,178 metres.