BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Special Report: 1998: 07/98: Tour de France  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
UK Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tour de France Saturday, 1 August, 1998, 18:10 GMT 19:10 UK
The Pirate hangs on
Pantani
Barring a disaster Pantani will stay in yellow until the end
Italy's Marco Pantani is set to ride into Paris in the leader's yellow jersey of the Tour de France and win his second three-week race of the year.

Germany's Jan Ullrich won the final time trial stage of the race - but his margin over Pantani was not enough to deny the Italian the race lead.

Those riders who have survived or been able to complete this year's tour had to contend with awful weather conditions as the rain returned to the race for the final big showdown.

Ullrich
This is Jan Ullrich's third stage win in this tour
The stage took place around an almost flat 52km course from Montceau-les-Mines to Le Creusot where Ullrich was always expected to shine against mountain specialist Pantani.

Sure enough, the German was immediately ahead at the early time checks. But the margin never appeared big enough for Ullrich to repeat his victory of last year.

He needed to complete the 52km course five minutes and 56 seconds quicker than Pantani and eventually posted a time of 1hr 3min 52sec.

Pantani's time was 1hr 6min 27sec, two minutes and 35 seconds behind Ullrich, but with over three minutes to spare.

The Italian's effort was also good enough to give him third place on the stage.

Ullrich's victory takes him into second place in the race, ahead of the USA's Bobby Julich who started this stage just 14 seconds clear of the German.

The American finished it one minute and one second down on Ullrich - enough to give Julich second place on the stage, and keep him comfortably in third overall.

These top three riders have been head and shoulders ahead of the rest in this race, and once again they proved their supremacy.

Pantani's race - barring disaster

Despite the drugs scandal which has overshadowed Le Tour of 1998, the race should also be remembered as Pantani's great achievement.

The balding Italian, nicknamed The Pirate is set to emulate just four other riders who have won the Tour and the Giro d'Italia in the same year.

He will also be the first Italian to win the Tour since 1965.


Traditionally the final stage on Sunday is a procession into Paris followed by a bunch sprint finish.

This year's finale starts from the town of Melun, and concludes with the usual circuit up and down the Champs Elysees.

Pantani's yellow jersey is unlikely to come under threat unless this most unusual tour contains one final dramatic twist.

That could be an unlikely Ullrich attack or a return of Pantani's infamous bad luck which has seen him crash into anything from cars to cats in previous races.

But even if that happens he has a lead of three minutes and 21 seconds in which to get back on his bike and get to Paris.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC News
The BBC's Simon Brotherton reports from the race
See also:

30 Jul 98 | Tour de France
01 Aug 98 | Tour de France
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Tour de France stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Tour de France stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes