July 23/97 9:59 am - Australian Neil Stephens Wins Stage 17
Posted by Editor on 07/23/97
Stage 17 Fribourg to Colmar - 218.5 km
Details: 1 cat 4 climb and 2 Cat 3 climbs, 2 sprints
Attacks from the gun today, but none succeeded until a group of 11 went clear at the 70 kilometre mark. This group, containing U.S. rider Bobby Julich, Neil Stephens and Sergei Outschakov (joined shortly by Vjatecslav Ekimov and Oscar Camenzind) yo-yoed about 15-20 seconds off the front for awhile, before gradually pulling away from a disinterested peleton. The gap reached a maximum of 7 minutes with 95 kilometres left in the stage, before Telekom and Gan went to work. At the 170 kilometre mark it stabilized at about 3:30. With 20 kilometres to go Telekom, Gan and TVM went to the front at started to bring the gap down, but it was starting to look like they had left it too late. This proved to be the case, and now attention shifted to the breakaway, where attacks started happening. Farazijn attacke dwith 6 kilometres to go and was brought back with 4 km left. Stephens immediately launched a counterattack with no immediate response from the rest of the break. Stephensâ€š perfectly timed attack gave him the victory, with Camenzind second and Ekimov third. The peleton came in at 3:58, with Zabel taking the field sprint.
1. Neil Stephens (Aus) 4:54:38
2. Oskar Camenzind (Sui) at 0:03
3. Vjatsjeslav Ekimov (Rus)
4. Laurent Roux (Fra)
5. ERIK DEKKER (Ned)
6. Javier Pascual Rodriguez (Spa) all s.t.
14. Erik Zabel (Ger) 3:58