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July 20/97 10:59 am - Virenque Wins Stage from Ullrich

Posted by Editor on 07/20/97

Another big day in the mountains today for stage 14 from Bourg d‚Oisans to Courchevel. The stage is only 148 kilometres, but has a Cat 1 climb (Col du Glandon) at 36 km, the feared Col de la Madeleine Hors Categorie (Beyond Category) with 20 kilometres of climbing, and finishes at the top of another Cat 1 climb into Courchevel. 25 riders, including all of the top climbers, went clear of the peleton on the Col du Glandon, as expected. Pascal Herve took his team leader (2nd place overall) Richard Virenque over the summit first, and Tour leader Jan Ullrich was forced to chase. The gap on the front group, containing Virenque, Herve, Laurent Brochard, Laurent Dufaux and Francesco Casagrande grew to a maximum of 2 minutes before it started to slowly shrink. The chasers gradually dropped to Riis (doing much of the work), Ullrich, Jose Maria Jimenez and Fernando Escartin. After his big effort yesterday, Alpe d‚Huez winner Marco Pantani was dropped early and lost over 4 minutes (gaining back a minute before the end of the stage). Virenque dropped his breakaway companions on the Madeleine climb and cleared the summit alone, but Riis brought Ullrich, Escartin and Dufaux (dropped by Virenque earlier) up to Virenque after the descent, with 33 kilometres left in the stage. After a short period of cooperation, the attacks started at the front again. Riis and Escartin were the early instigators, but each time were brought back. Finally, after Ullrich had dropped Riis with one of his attacks (and had to slow up to wait for his teammate), Virenque launched another effort that only Ullrich could match. This was becoming an epic battle between the first and second place riders, as they quickly opened a 30 second plus gap on Riis and Escartin. Virenque was doing most of the work, trying to burn Ullrich off. Ullrich was content to follow the French rider, just protecting his lead, and didn‚t even react to Virenque‚s sprint for the stage victory, Escartin took third after dropping Riis (also passed by Dufaux) with about 3 kilometres left in the climb. There is no change for the front two riders, but Riis has now moved ahead of Pantani into thrid place. 1. Richard Virenque (Fra) 4:34:16 2. Jan Ullrich (Ger) s.t. 3. Fernando Escartin (Spa) at 0:46 4. Laurent Dufaux (Sui) 1:19 5. Bjarne Riis (Den) 1:23 6. Marco Pantani (Ita) 3:06 7. Francesco Casagrande (Ita) 3:36 8. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spa) 3:50 9. Abraham Olano (Spa) s.t. 10. Roberto Conti (Ita) 4:41 11. Peter Luttenberger (Oos) 7:12 12. Pascal Lino (Fra) 8:01 GC 1. Jan Ullrich (Ger) 71:00:26 2. Richard Virenque (Fra) at 6:22 3. Bjarne Riis (Den) 11:06 4. Marco Pantani (Ita) 11:30 5. Abraham Olano (Spa) 14:27 6. Fernando Escartin (Spa) 15:23 7. Francesco Casagrande (Ita) 16:31 8. Laurent Dufaux (Sui) 20:05 9. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spa) 22:21 10. Roberto Conti (Ita) 25:29 11. Peter Luttenberger (Oos) 26:59


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