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[an error occurred while processing this directive] banner Friday, 27 July, 2001, 19:52 GMT 20:52 UK
Brotherton's Tour moment: Stage 18
Jan Ullrich and Joseba Beloki
Ullrich (left) and Beloki could not catch Armstrong
Throughout the Tour de France, Simon Brotherton is providing daily race reports for BBC Five Live and stage highlights for Sport Online.

Today's moment was the realisation that we're exactly where we were 12 months ago on the Tour De France.

Namely, the same three riders are set to finish first, second and third - and in the same order as well.

This will be only the second time in the history of the race that this has happened, with the only previous time being in the late seventies.

Jan Ullrich
Ullrich has finished second three times
It was at the beginning of the Bernard Hinault era in 1978 and 1979, when Joop Zoetemelk and Joaqim Agostino played second and third fiddle as the Frenchman claimed the first two of his record equalling five Tour triumphs.

For the late Agostino from Portugal, these were the only times he made it onto the podium in a long career that saw him ride the Tour 13 times.

Zoetemelk finished second a record six times but did win the Tour once in 1980 at the ripe old age of 33.

Jan Ullrich is set to finish second this year for the fourth time in five participations, but he has won the Tour once and, at the age of 27, has time on his side if he's to win again.

Joseba Beloki is only riding the race for the second time and can be pleased to have proven that last year's podium finish was no fluke.

What's beyond doubt is that, despite upping their efforts and improving their level of performance, they've both been unable to match the peerless riding of Lance Armstrong.

The American deserves every plaudit for leading from the front and proving himself to be the best rider in the 2001 Tour.

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