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Friday, 14 July, 2000, 17:29 GMT 18:29 UK
Acosta wrecks French hopes
Garcia Acosta receives encouragement
Garcia Acosta was still cheered home by spectators
Spaniard Vicente Garcia Acosta claimed the 13th stage of the Tour de France to wreck France's Bastille Day celebrations.

The 27-year-old Basque saw off the challenge of Frenchmen Nicolas Jalabert and Pascal Herve to end the 185km stage 25 seconds in front.

Jalabert was second, with Herve a further two seconds adrift in third. They had both been left behind by Acosta 20km from the finish.

"When Garcia Acosta attacked I waited for Pascal Herve, thinking it would be better to join forces to catch him," said Jalabert, hoping to emulate his brother Laurent, winner of a Tour stage on July 14 five years ago.

Strong

"But he was very strong in the end. We were two Frenchmen out of three and the Spaniard won."

Herve had hoped to do well on the roads of the native region of his leader, Richard Virenque.


I'd been looking for a win like this for two years
Vicente Garcia Acosta

But the day belonged to Garcia Acosta, whose victory helped make up for a disastrous start to the Tour by his Banesto team.

"I'd been looking for a win like this for two years," he said.

"In 1998 I was second in a Tour stage and this year I was third in Villeneuve-sur-Lot. This comes at the right time.

Compare

"To win a stage in a big Tour like the Vuelta is great but to win one in the Tour de France is beyond compare."

Francis Lafargue, the Banesto manager, admitted the win was timely after team leaders Alex Zuelle and Jose Maria Jimenez sank on the Ventoux climb on Thursday.

"Yesterday we missed our stage. It was a big disappointment and the team reacted out of pride," said Lafargue.

" We have not said our last word. The mountains are coming and there are a lot of climbs ahead of us."

Rival

Defending champion Lance Armstrong takes a lead of four minutes 55 seconds over his nearest rival, German Jan Ullrich, into Saturday's first stage in the Alps, a 250km ride to Briancon.

The American finished in the main bunch, 10:06 behind Garcia Acosta.

The Spaniard, Jalabert and Herve were the only survivors of a group of 13 riders who had led from the 60th km on the winding roads of Provence after attacking near the little village of Menerbes.

Millar battered and bruised

Britain's David Millar finished in the main pack, and continues in 47th place, determined to beat injury and reach Paris in his first Tour.

The Cofidis rider is nursing two badly bruised ribs, which he suspects may even be broken, following a crash on Thursday.

He described the problem as being in "constant pain" and "like having a permanent stitch".

Friday's stage was marred by a serious accident in the publicity caravan. A car hit a teenager, who had to be flown to hospital in Marseille with severe injuries.

See also:

14 Jul 00 | Tour de France
13 Jul 00 | Tour de France
13 Jul 00 | Tour de France
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