July 21/98 11:50 am - Massi Takes First Mountain Stage
Posted by Editor on 07/21/98
Ullrich Takes Back Yellow Jersey
The Tour began in earnest today, with the 196.5 kilometre 10th stage from Pau to Luchon. Two â€žBeyond Categoryâ€° climbs (Col dâ€šAubisque and Col du Tourmalet) and two First Category climbs (Col dâ€šAspin, Col de Peyresourde) meant that the serious racing was going to begin.
An early break , on the Aubisque climb saw Cedric Vasseur (Gan), Rodolfo Massi (Casino) and Alberto Bli (Casino) open up a gap that grew to nearly 7 minutes by the start of the Col dâ€šAspin. However, peleton was waking up behind, led by Jan Ullrich (Telekom). Ullrich went to the front and powered the dwindling front group. Laurent Jalabert (ONCE) was shed, as Ullrich kept upping the pace another notch, and then another. On the final Col de Peyresourde climb Massi dropped Vasseur and Bli, as the chasers came closer and closer. Italian climbing sensation Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno) made his move here, roaribg away from Ullrich, Bobby Julich, (Cofidis), Bjarne Riis (Telekom), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) and Luc Leblanc (Polti). Pantani went straight past Bli and Vasseur, as did Ullrichâ€šs group, but Massi managed to stay away from Pantani on the final descent into Luchon for the stage victory. Pantani finished 36 seconds back, with Boogerd third, Julich fourth and Ullrich 5th - a further 23 seconds behind Pantani. Jalabert finished 1:13 behind Ullrich, and another big loser was Abraham Olano (Banesto) - 0:59 behind Ullrich.