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Snow sees Giro stage cancelled

CYCLING: Today's 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia was cancelled due to snow along the route, leaving just one more difficult leg for overall leader Vincenzo Nibali to navigate.

Organisers said there were "adverse weather conditions and, in particular, snow on the stage route in its entirety."

The 19th stage in the 21-leg race had already been altered because of avalanche threats and sub-zero temperatures. With snow and ice predicted, the Gavia and Stelvio passes were cut from the route. However, a longer 160km route from Ponte di Legno was set to be climbed to the original finish of Val Martello.

The altered route was to go over the Tonale pass, which was snowed over.

Nibali holds a 4:02 lead over 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans of Australia, who rides for BMC. Rigoberto Uran of Colombia is third overall, 4:12 back.

Nibali boosted his lead by winning yesterday's mountain time trial.

Stage 20 tomorrow is another mountainous leg that is scheduled to follow a 203km route from Silandro to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, but it is also risks being cancelled due to snow.

Meanwhile, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia rider Danilo Di Luca has been provisionally suspended by the UCI after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs for the second time in his career.


F1: Jenson Button is hoping McLaren can unlock qualifying pace ahead of tomorrow's one-lap showdown around Monaco if his new-found happiness is not to be shattered.

Button was eighth quickest at the end of yesterday's two practice sessions around the streets of Monte Carlo, albeit 1.2 seconds off the searing pace posted by Mercedes' Nico Rosberg.

While still far from being good enough, Button could at least claim changes made to the car since the last race in Spain had made a small difference.

"It was fun out there," said Button with a smile.

"Our long-run pace looks surprisingly good, not that that matters so much around here when you are 1.2 seconds off the pace of qualifying. "But I'm happier with the car here, I have a much better feeling with it than I have had at the past few races."


CYCLING: Marcin Bialoblocki remains in yellow following yesterday's stage five of An Post Rás, with Belgian Moreno De Pauw taking the stage win in Mitchelstown.