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Italy's Ciccone wins Challenge of Stars climbers' event
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  • 24 May 20
  • Cycling
  • 4
FILE PHOTO: Cycling - Tour de France - The 27.5-km Stage 13 Individual Time Trial from Pau to Pau - July 19, 2019 - Trek-Segafredo rider Giulio Ciccone of Italy in action. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann 691px 444px FILE PHOTO: Cycling - Tour de France - The 27.5-km Stage 13 Individual Time Trial from Pau to Pau - July 19, 2019 - Trek-Segafredo rider Giulio Ciccone of Italy in action. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

(Reuters) - Italian Giulio Ciccone won the climbers' event in a virtual cycling competition, the Challenge of Stars, on Sunday.

The Trek Segafredo rider, who had a spell wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey during last year' Tour de France, beat Belgian Thomas De Gendt in the final, on northern Italy's Stelvio climb, a 2.9km-ascent at an average gradient of 8.69%.

Eight riders started the knockout competition, with four-time Tour champion Chris Froome being eliminated by France's Warren Barguil in the first round.

The Challenge of Stars is the first virtual knockout tournament between professional riders organised by RCS Sport in collaboration with cycling simulator firm BKOOL.

Dutchman Fabio Jakobsen won the sprinters' event on Saturday.

"I liked The Challenge of Stars very much, it's a unique format and it's a real challenge, I had fun," said Ciccone.

"Now it’s time to enjoy some relaxation.”

Professional cycling has been on hold since March because of the coronavirus pandemic which has forced the postponement of some of the sport's most high-profile races, including the Giro d'Italia that was supposed to have started on May 9.

The Tour de France has also been postponed and will start on Aug. 29.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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