July 27/98 12:40 pm - Pantani Obliterates Competition
Posted by Editor on 07/27/98
Pantani Makes His Move!
Italian climbing ace has made todayâ€šs first stage in the Alps a classic. After riding with the dwindling main group containing Tour leader Jan Ullrich (Telekom), the Mercatone rider flew off the front on the second â€žBeyond Categoryâ€° climb of the day - the Col du Galibier. He quickly gained 2 minutes on Ullrich (Pantani was 3 minutes down at the start of the stage), and gobbled up breakaways Rodolfo Massi (Casino) and Christophe Rinero (Cofidis) to go ahead on the descent - in rainy, slippery conditions. Pantani was joined by Massi, Rinero, Jose Jimenez (Banesto), Marcos Serrano (Kelme) and Fernando Escartin (Kelme), now nearly 3 minutes up on Ullrich. Ullrich started losing serious time as the riders headed towards the final Category 1 climb of the day (Les Deux Alpes) - over 4 minutes at the base. American Bobby Julich (Cofidis) finally attacked Ullrich as well, and rode away to claim a solid 5th on the stage. However, the story is all Pantani: nearly 9 minutes on Ullrich by the finish! At the finish, it was: Pantani. Massi, Escartin, Rinero, Julich and Serrano.