Cat In Road Sparks Six-Cyclist Spill; Pantani Injured

Marco Pantani's comeback suffered a setback yesterday when he was injured in a six-cyclist spill during the eighth stage of the Tour of Italy - a chain of collisions started when a cat ran onto the road.

The Italian rider suffered a muscle injury in his left leg, the same leg that was so badly fractured in a training ride that he was out of action for 16 months.

"There was a cat in the way and I hit him at full speed," Swiss cyclist Felice Puttini said. "There was nothing I could do."

Pantini completed the final 12 1/2 miles of the stage, then was treated at a hospital. He was 26 minutes, 13 seconds behind Mario Manzoni, who won the 126-mile stage from Mondragone to Cava de' Tirreni, Italy, in 5 hours, 20 minutes, 9 seconds, averaging 24.633 mph.

Pantani, who started the day in fifth place overall, just 1 minute, 31 seconds behind the leader, tumbled to 52nd overall, 13:43 behind defending champion Pavel Tonkov of Russia, who held his overall lead, 41 seconds ahead of Luc Leblanc of France.


Steffi Graf beat 15-year-old Mirjana Lucic of Croatia 6-2, 7-5 in the final of the Strasbourg Open in France for her first victory of 1997.

It was Lucic's second pro tournament. She won the Bol Open in her country last month in her first official pro tournament.

-- Defending champion Jana Novotna defeated Monica Seles 7-5, 6-1 to win the Madrid Open in Spain.


Bobby Phillips ran for two touchdowns and Steve Pelluer came off the bench to throw two touchdown passes to lead the Frankfurt Galaxy to a 31-7 WLAF victory over the London Monarchs in Frankfurt, Germany.

The Galaxy lost former Husky receiver Mario Bailey for the season when he suffered a broken arm.

-- Quarterback Mike McCoy ran 10 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown and the Amsterdam Admirals held on for a 26-21 victory over the visiting Barcelona Dragons in the World League.


Chiquinho Conde scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway in the 87th minute to give the New England Revolution a 2-1 Major League Soccer victory over the Colorado Rapids in Denver.