July 8/97 10:49 am - Zabel Wins, Rominger Out?
Posted by Editor on 07/8/97
Erik Zabel just won another crash filled stage of the Tour de France, that saw Tony Rominger abandon.
After a series of abortive breakaway attempts, a group of 16, including world champion Johan Museeuw, got away at the 60 kilometre mark of the 224 km stage. Initially it looked like the pack would not let them get too far in front and the gap yo-yoed at around 20 to 30 seconds. But then the lead started to grow, reaching as high as 44 seconds before the peleton made a concerted effort to bring them back, with ONCE and MG Technogym doing much of the work. At the 84 kilometre mark 4 riders went off the front of the break (which was caught shortly after). Gianluca Bortolami, Orlando Rodriguez, Danny Nelissen and Francois Simon, working smoothly together, managed to gain as much as 3:30 on the peleton (at Quedillac - 144 kilometres into the race), before their lead started to drop. Simon attacked at the last Intermediate Sprint of the day (198.5 km) and opened a gap on the other three. His lead grew to over a minute with only 18 km left, but started to drop after that. By Plumelec, with only 13 km left he was down to 38 seconds. However, as the peleton left Plumelec another massive pileup occurred, with Tony Rominger going down hard and being forced to abandon. Alex Zulle, in an extension of his bad luck, wasin group over a minute behind the pack. The peleton, led by Telekom, caught Simon with 5 km to go, setting the stage for another sprint finish. Nicolas Jalabert tried a last ditch breakaway attempt, but was brought back. Frank Vandenbroucke began the sprint, but Zabel easily caught and passed him, with Bjarne Riis in third.
Stage 3, Vire to Plumelec - 224 km
1. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom 4:54:33
2. Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel)
3. Bjarne Riis (Den)
4. Laurent Jalabert (Fra)
5. Davide Rebellin (Ita)
6. Abraham Olano (Spa)
7. Cyril Robin (Fra)
8. Jan Ullrich (Ger)
9. Laurent Dufaux (Sui)
10. Pascal Chanteur (Fra) all s.t.
1. Mario Cipollini (Ita) 16:10:01
2. Erik Zabel (Ger) at 0:29
3. Jan Ullrich (Ger) 0:38
4. Abraham Olano (Spa) 0:48
5. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) 0:50