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Tour of Spain


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Tour of Spain Winners

MURCIA, Spain, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Winners of the Tour of Spain since 1970: 

1970 - Luis Ocana (Spain) 
1971 - Ferdinand Bracke (Belgium) 
1972 - Jose Manuel Fuente (Spain) 
1973 - Eddy Merckx (Belgium) 
1974 - Fuente 
1975 - Agustin Tamames (Spain) 
1976 - Jose Pesarrodona (Spain) 
1977 - Freddie Maertens (Belgium) 
1978 - Bernard Hinault (France) 
1979 - Joop Zoetemelk (Netherlands) 
1980 - Faustino Ruperez (Spain) 
1981 - Giovanni Battglin (Italy) 
1982 - Marino Lejarreta (Spain) 
1983 - Hinault 
1984 - Eric Caritoux (France) 
1985 - Pedro Delgado (Spain) 
1986 - Alvaro Pino (Spain) 
1987 - Luis Herrera (Colombia) 
1988 - Sean Kelly (Ireland) 
1989 - Delgado 
1990 - Marco Giovanetti (Italy) 
1991 - Melchor Mauri (Spain) 
1992 - Toni Rominger (Switzerland) 
1993 - Rominger 
1994 - Rominger 
1995 - Laurent Jalabert (France) 
1996 - Alex Zulle (Switzerland) 
1997 - Zulle 
1998 - Abraham Olano (Spain) 

Biggest winning margin: 30 minutes eight seconds - Delio Rodriguez (Spain) over Julian Berrendero (Spain) in 1945. 

Smallest winning margin: six seconds - Eric Caritoux (France) over Alberto Fernandez (Spain) in 1984.


 Other Racing News        Stages     Earlier Results

Ullrich hangs on to lead as Laiseka wins in mountains

By Phil Minshull

ALTO DE ABANTOS, Spain, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Jan Ullrich overcame his last potential stumbling block on the road to winning this year's Tour of Spain by finishing eighth in the 166.3-km 18th stage from Guadalajara on Thursday.

The Spanish teams had said earlier in the day that they were going to gang together to try to take the overall lead from the German on the last of the Tour's mountain stages.

However, only the Banesto riders made a concerted bid to attack the 1997 Tour de France winner and he managed to cover their moves.

Spain's Roberto Laiseka, of the Euskatel-Euskadi team, was the surprise winner as the main protagonists focused their attention on Ullrich.

Banesto's Alex Zuelle tried to break Ullrich with an early push up the foothills of Alto De Abantos, which was hosting a stage finish at the summit for the first time, but Ullrich managed to stay close to the Swiss rider who has won the Tour of Spain twice.

As Zuelle's effort evaporated six kilometres from the line Laiseka swept to the front and the Spaniard quickly established a lead of nearly a minute as the rest of the leading group jockeyed for position among themselves.

Ullrich initially looked in trouble and another Banesto rider -- Jose Maria Jimemez -- shot off after Laiseka.

But the German got his second wind on a brief stretch of level road three kilometres from the finish and held on for the remainder of the stage.

Laiseka finished in four hours, 18 minutes and 39 seconds, with Belgium's Frank Vandenbroucke eventually finishing second, 17 seconds in arrears.

Ullrich paid tribute to the efforts of Vandenbroucke in marshalling him through the stage, with his own Deutsche Telekon team unable to provide much support.

Vandenbroucke's Cofidis team had disintegrated after nearly three weeks of hard riding and, with no team loyalty to maintain, Tuesday's stage winner offered his assistance to Ullrich on Thursday morning.

Ullrich finished 55 seconds behind Laiseka and his race lead was trimmed to just 30 seconds by Spain's Igor Gonzalez Galdeano, who was three places and 19 seconds in front of the German in the stage.

``There are still opportunities for me to get in front of Ullrich but time is running out,'' the Spaniard said.

Gonzalez Galdeano is now the only rider with a realistic chance of overhauling Ullrich, barring accidents, before the race finishes on Sunday.

The crucial stage will be Saturday's 46.5-km time-trial.

Ullrich is formidable in time-trials but Gonzalez Galdeano has proved to be almost his equal in this year's Tour.

``Whether I can beat Ullrich on Saturday depends on how much I have recovered from this stage. It is going to be very tough to get the golden jersey at this point in the race but I still have some hopes,'' Gonzalez Galdeano said.

Tour of Spain 18th stage placings/overall standings

ALTO DE ABANTOS, Spain, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Leading placings in the 18th stage of the Tour of Spain over 166.3 kms between Guadalajara and Alto De Abantos on Thursday:

1. Robert Laiseka (Spain) Euskatel 4 hours 18 minutes 39 seconds
2. Frank Vandenbroucke (Belgium) Cofidis 17 seconds behind
3. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spain) Banesto 21 seconds
4. Roberto Heras (Spain) Kelme 36
5. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spain) Vitalicio same time

6. Pavel Tonkov (Russia) Mapei 52
7. Manuel Beltran (Spain) Banesto same time
8. Jan Ullrich (Germany) Deutsche Telekom 55
9. Inigo Cuesta (Spain) ONCE same time
10. Jose Luis Rubiera (Spain) Kelme 1:14

11. Leonardo Piepoli (Italy) Banesto same time
12. Santiago Blanco (Spain) Vitalicio 1:16
13. Jose Manuel Uria (Spain) Kelme 1:24
14. Txema Del Olmo (Spain) Euskatel 1:26
15. Ivan Parra (Colombia) Vitalicio 1:41

Leading overall standings

1. Ullrich 79 hours 46 minutes 2 seconds
2. Gonzalez Galdeano 30 seconds behind
3. Heras 2:16
4. Jimenez 3:01
5. Tonkov 3:42

6. Rubiera 4:42
7. Beltran 5:02
8. Piepoli 6:19
9. Parra 9:09
10. Blanco 9:45

Double celebration for Moreni and Liquigas in Spain

By Phil Minshull

GUADALAJARA, Spain, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Italian Christian Moreni and his Liquigas team had double cause for celebration after his win in the 17th stage of the Tour of Spain on Wednesday.

It was a first professional win for the 26-year-old rider and gave Liquigas their first Tour victory.

Germany's Jan Ullrich retained his overall race lead after coming home with the peloton, more than 16 minutes behind the winner.

Moreni covered the 225-kms between Bronchales and Guadalajara in five hours 33 minutes 13 seconds after breaking away from a five-man leading group four kilometres from the finish.

``I can't describe the feeling. It's my first win as a professional and to win it in a prestigious race like this is incredible,'' Moreni said.

``I'm surprised no one managed to pull me back when I attacked. I was looking around for my fellow Italians Tafi, Rebellin and Piccoli, who I thought would be very dangerous,'' he added.

Moreni won 20 times as an amateur but delayed his move into the professional ranks until two years ago.

Banesto's Jose Garcia Acosta won the sprint for the minor placings, finishing two seconds behind Moreni, while the ONCE rider Mikel Zarrabeitia was third in the same time as his compatriot.

Ullrich finished 23rd, the same place as Tuesday, and sounded weary with the last mountainous stage on Thursday and a time trial on Saturday still to come.

``It was another hard day. Every day is a hard day and they are all hard from here,'' the German commented.

He maintained a 49-second advantage over his nearest rival, Spain's Igor Gonzalez Galdeano, thanks largely to help from the Deutsche Telekom team who led the peloton and controlled the pace.

Two big names, German Marcel Wust and Spain's Angel Casero, were among the five who abandoned the race on Wednesday.

Wust won four stages during the first half of the tour but quit after 140-kms citing sheer fatigue.

Earlier in the day, Spain's Angel Casero, who had been eighth in the overall standings before Wednesday's stage, retired with an achilles tendon injury.

Only 118 riders of the 189 who started the race on September 4 reached Guadalajara.

Tour of Spain 17th stage placings/overall standings

GUADALAJARA, Spain, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Leading placings in the 17th stage of the Tour of Spain over 225 kms between Bronchales and Guadalajara on Wednesday:

1. Christian Moreni (Italy) Liquigas 5 hours 33 minutes 13 seconds
2. Jose Garcia Acosta (Spain) Banesto 2 seconds behind
3. Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spain) ONCE same time
4. Mariano Piccoli (Italy) Lampre 5 seconds
5. Antonio Tauler (Spain) Kelme same time

6. Davide Rebellin (Italy) Polti 7
7. Andrea Tafi (Italy) Mapei
8. Jaime Hernandez (Spain) Festina both same time
9. Inigo Chaurreau (Spain) Euskatel 16
10. Ramon Gonzalez Arrieta (Spain) Euskatel 28

11. Luis Perez (Spain) ONCE 2:15
12. Robert Hunter (South Africa) Lampre 16:34
13. Glenn Magnusson (Sweden) U.S. Postal
14. Markus Zberg (Switzerland) Rabobank
15. Sergey Smetanine (Russia) Vitalicio all same time

Leading overall standings

1. Jan Ullrich (Germany) Deutsche Telekom 75 hours 26 minutes 31 seconds
2. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spain) Vitalicio 49 seconds behind
3. Roberto Heras (Spain) Kelme 2:35
4. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spain) Banesto 3:35
5. Pavel Tonkov (Russia) Mapei 3:45

6. Jose Luis Rubiera (Spain) Kelme 4:23
7. Manuel Beltran (Spain) Banesto 5:05
8. Leonardo Piepoli (Italy) Banesto 6:00
9. Ivan Parra (Colombia) Vitalicio 8:23
10. Santiago Blanco (Spain) Vitalicio 9:24

11. Zarrabeitia 16:20
12. Jose Manuel Uria (Spain) Kelme 18:26
13. Chaurreau 19:39
14. Felix Garcia Casas (Spain) Festina 20:21
15. Txema Del Olmo (Spain) Euskatel 20:31

Vandenbroucke wins Tour of Spain 16th stage

TERUEL, Spain, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Belgium's Frank Vandenbroucke sprinted to victory in the 16th stage of the Tour of Spain on Tuesday while Germany's Jan Ullrich retained the leader's golden jersey.

Ullrich, leader for the last five days, finished the 200.4 kms stage from Valencia to Teruel in 23rd place with the main peloton and nearly 13 minutes behind Vandenbroucke.

The Belgian Cofidis rider won in five hours 20 minutes 41 seconds, after tracking the back wheel of Spain's Jon Odriozola and taking off 250 metres from the line.

The Banesto man had made the initial surge with just over a kilometre to go but he was clearly in trouble very quickly, looking round and grimacing, and it was the cue for Vandenbroucke to speed past him.

The pair made a break 55 kms from the finish and, after sharing the pace-making, came home more than 4-1/2 minutes ahead of a five-man group who had made an initial escape early in the race.

``I came into the tour having had a poor couple of months and originally thought I was only going to ride the first few days until we got to the mountains,'' Vandenbroucke said.

``The idea was just to get fit and concentrate on the world championships next month, where I think I have a good chance,'' he added.

``But as the Tour has gone on I have felt better and better and did not suffer too badly in the mountains so I have decided to try and get to Madrid,'' he added.

Odriozola came home three seconds behind Vandenbroucke.

``I knew Vandenbroucke was a better sprinter than me and had more in reserve. I was just hoping for a miracle,'' the Basque commented.

Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France winner, and other contenders appeared happy to let some lesser-known names on the Tour have their turn in the limelight.

Ullrich remained 49 seconds ahead of Spain's Igor Gonzalez Galdeano, his nearest rival in the overall rankings.

There was no change in the places or time differences in the top 10 riders on the race.

Gonzalez Galdeano admitted after Tuesday's stage, in which he finished two places behind Ullrich but in the same time, that he had been pacing himself for the last two days in order to stage further attacks on the German.

The Tour ends in Madrid on Sunday.

Tour of Spain 16th stage placings/overall standings

TERUEL, Spain, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Leading results of the 16th stage of the Tour of Spain over 200.4-kms between Valencia and Teruel on Tuesday:

1. Frank Vandenbroucke (Belgium) Cofidis 5 hours 20 minutes 41 seconds
2. Jon Odriozola (Spain) Banesto 3 seconds behind
3. Francisco Cabello (Spain) Kelme 4:44
4. Andrey Zintchenko (Russia) Vitalicio
5. Oscar Camenzind (Switzerland) Lampre

6. Michel Lafis (Sweden) TVM all same time
7. Gianni Faresin (Italy) Mapei 4:46
8. Aitor Osa (Italy) Banesto same time
9. Juan Carlos Vicario (Spain) Fuenlabrada 4:49
10. David Garcia (Spain) Vitalicio 4:58

11. Glenn Magnusson (Sweden) U.S. Postal 12:39
12. Markus Zberg (Switzerland) Rabobank
13. Robert Hunter (South Africa) Lampre
14. Paolo Bettini (Italy) Mapei
15. Martin Perdiguero (Spain) ONCE all same time

Overall standings

1. Jan Ullrich (Germany) Deutsche Telekom 69:36:41
2. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spain) Vitalicio 49 seconds behind
3. Roberto Heras (Spain) Kelme 2:35
4. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spain) Banesto 3:35
5. Pavel Tonkov (Russia) Mapei 3:45

6. Jose Luis Rubiera (Spain) Kelme 4:23
7. Manuel Beltran (Spain) Banesto 5:05
8. Angel Casero (Spain) Vitalicio 5:19
9. Leonardo Piepoli (Italy) Banesto 6:00
10. Ivan Parra (Colombia) Vitalicio 8:08

11. Santiago Blanco (Spain) Vitalicio 9:24
12. Jose Manuel Uria (Spain) Kelme 18:26
13. Felix Garcia Casas (Spain) Festina 20:21
14. Txema Del Olmo (Spain) Euskatel 20:31
15. Osa 20.40

Ekimov has his day in the sun with stage win in Spain

VALENCIA, Spain, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Russia's Viacheslav Ekimov won the 15th stage of the Tour of Spain by turning on the power in the final 100 metres of a 193.4-km ride between La Senia and Valencia on Monday.

The Costa Almeria rider crossed the finish line in Spain's third largest town, just 30 kms from his home in nearby Tortosa, in four hours 31 minutes 45 seconds.

Germany's Jan Ullrich retained the race leader's golden jersey for the fourth successive day, finishing in the 56-man peloton which ambled home nearly 13 minutes adrift of the leading group. There were no changes in the top 15 positions.

American rider Frankie Andreu, of the U.S. Postal team, finished second and Italy's Paolo Bettini was third.

Ekimov, best known for his exploits on the track where he has set 10 world records, was part of a nine-man group which broke away after just 20 kms.

With none of the leading group posing a threat to the men high in the overall standings, the leading teams were prepared to let them go and have their day in the sun.

At 76 kms the gap had stretched to more than 10 minutes and the advantage grew to over 18 minutes at the checkpoint 45 kms from Valencia.

In the final 30 kms the Banesto team started to push the pace to ensure there were no major changes to the race leaders.

However, the leading group were too far up the road for specialist sprinters like Germany's Marcel Wust, who has won four stages on this year's Tour, to get into position to contest the stage victory.

Spain's Igor Flores, of the Euskatel team, made an initial bid for glory a kilometre from the line but Ekimov rose out of his saddle and sprinted to his third victory of the season.

The first seven men to across the line were all given the same time as Ekimov.

``I could see that Igor was going to run out of steam. It was the others, like Bettini, that were going to be more dangerous but at 500 metres to go I knew it was going to be my race,'' Ekimov said.

The victory was the 42nd on the road in the 33-year-old Russian's 10 years as a professional but it was the first on the Tour of Spain. He won the 1990 world pursuit title on the track.

Ullrich finished 21st and maintained his 49 seconds lead over Spain's Igor Gonzalez Galdeano in the overall standings.

There were no changes in positions or time differences to the top 15 riders in the race.

Tour of Spain 15th stage placings/overall standings

VALENCIA, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Leading results of the 15th stage of the Tour of Spain over 193.4-kms between La Senia
and Valencia on Monday: 

1. Viacheslav Ekimov (Russia) Costa Almeria 4 hours 31 minutes 44 seconds 
2. Frankie Andreu (U.S.) U.S. Postal 
3. Paolo Bettini (Italy) Mapei 
4. Eddy Mazzoleni (Italy) Saeco 
5. Pascal Herve (France) Festina 

6. Christian Moreni (Italy) Liquigas 
7. Mariano Piccoli (Italy) Lampre 
8. Igor Flores (Spain) Euskatel all at same time
9. Antonio Tauler (Spain) Kelme at 9 seconds
10. Martin Perdiguero (Spain) ONCE 12:46

11. Salvatore Commesso (Italy) Saeco 
12. Geert van Bondt (Belgium) TVM 
13. Markus Zberg (Switzerland) Rabobank 
14. Andrea Tafi (Italy) Mapei 
15. Bram de Groot (Netherlands) TVM all at same time 

Overall standings 

1. Jan Ullrich (Germany) Deutsche Telekom 64:03:21
2. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spain) Vitalicio at 49 seconds
3. Roberto Heras (Spain) Kelme 2:35
4. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spain) Banesto 3:35
5. Pavel Tonkov (Russia) Mapei 3:45

6. Jose Luis Rubiera (Spain) Kelme 4:23
7. Manuel Beltran (Spain) Banesto 5:05
8. Angel Casero (Spain) Vitalicio 5:19
9. Leonardo Piepoli (Italy) Banesto 6:00
10. Ivan Parra (Colombia) 8:08

11. Santiago Blanco (Spain) Vitalicio 9:24
12. Jose Manuel Uria (Spain) Kelme 18:26
13. Felix Garcia Casas (Spain) Festina 20:21
14. Txema Del Olmo (Spain) Euskatel 20:31
15. Roberto Laiseka (Spain) 27:25

Roscioli finally finds success in Tour of Spain

BARCELONA, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Italy's Fabio Roscioli finally achieved success in the Tour of Spain on Sunday by winning the 135.8-km 14th stage, starting and finishing in Barcelona.

The Costa Almeria rider, who had been part of almost every major attack on flat stages of the race but without success, clocked an unofficial time of two hours 34 minutes 42 seconds for the stage, raced over eight laps of a circuit around the centre of the Catalan capital.

The peloton finished nearly two minutes behind Roscoli but Germany's Jan Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France winner, retained the race leader's golden jersey for a third day.

A riders' protest delayed the start by 36 minutes and led to race officials shortening the course by almost a kilometre a lap because of the heavy overnight and morning rain. They took out a climb around the Montjiuc hill in order to avoid any dangerous situations on the road when the cyclists were descending.

Tour of Spain 14th stage placings/overall standings

BARCELONA, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Leading results of the 14th stage of the Tour of Spain over 135.8-kms, starting and finishing in Barcelona on Sunday: 

1. Fabio Roscioli (Italy) Costa Almeria 2 hours 34 minutes 41 seconds
2. Massimilano Lelli (Italy) Cofidis same time
3. Glenn Magnusson (Sweden) U.S. Postal at 1:52
4. Frank Hoj (Denmark) U.S. Postal 
5. Andrey Zintchenko (Russia) Vitalicio 

6. Marcel Wust (Germany) Festina 
7. Andrea Tafi (Italy) Mapei 
8. Simone Zucchi (Italy) Polti 
9. Pedro Diaz Lobato (Spain) Fuenlabrada 
10. Guiseppe Palumbo (Italy) Riso Scotti 

11. Robert Hunter (South Africa) Lampre 
12. Martin Perdiguero (Spain) ONCE 
13. Kurt van de Wouwer (Belgium) Lotto 
14. Marco Gili (Italy) Costa Almeria 
15. Angel Edo (Spain) Kelme all at same time

Overall standings

1. Jan Ullrich (Germany) Deutsche Telekom 59:18:51
2. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spain) Vitalicio at 49 seconds
3. Roberto Heras (Spain) Kelme 2:35
4. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spain) Banesto 3:35
5. Pavel Tonkov (Russia) Mapei 3:45

6. Jose Luis Rubiera (Spain) Kelme 4:23
7. Manuel Beltran (Spain) Banesto 5:05
8. Angel Casero (Spain) Vitalicio 5:19
9. Leonardo Piepoli (Italy) Banesto 6:00
10. Ivan Parra (Colombia) 8:08

11. Santiago Blanco (Spain) Vitalicio 9:24
12. Jose Manuel Uria (Spain) Kelme 18:26
13. Felix Garcia Casas (Spain) Festina 20:21
14. Txema Del Olmo (Spain) Euskatel 20:31
15. Roberto Laiseka (Spain) 27:25

ONCE praise for Olano

By Phil Minshull

BARCELONA, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Abraham Olano's ONCE team were full of praise for their rider on Sunday after it was revealed he had battled through a broken rib in a bid to defend his Tour of Spain title before eventually being withdrawn.

The Spaniard had been complaining of chest pains after three difficult days in the Pyrenees, which saw him lose his race leader's golden jersey to Germany's Jan Ullrich on Friday and slump to 12th place overall before he decided to pull out, but an x-ray showed that he had a broken rib and fractures in two more.

``I know he's a hard rider but I didn't know he was quite so tough,'' ONCE team doctor Nicolas Terrados said.

The 1998 world time trail champion is believed to have broken the ribs in a crash a week ago on the eighth stage while descending a mountain.

In wet conditions he skidded off the road and down a two metres slope.

``I think I suffered it there. After that each day was getting more difficult and I was not recovering. I couldn't put in any effort,'' Olano said.

However he rode with his injuries for six days before the pain became unbearable.

Olano was on Sunday trying to sound cheerful over his premature departure, despite the fact that there is a week to go before the riders reach Madrid.

``I knew that this was a Tour for the climbers and that it was always going to be difficult to win again despite the fact that I would do well in the time trials,'' Olano said.

His ONCE team director Manolo Saiz made the ultimate decision to withdraw Olano.

``We've had 12 good days fighting for the lead. Overall the balance of this Tour comes out on the positive side.

``Losing your team leader is sad but it didn't make any sense for him to suffer anymore,'' Saiz said.

Olano's remaining ambition for the season is to recover from his injuries in time to defend his world time trial title in Italy next month.

Olano quits Tour of Spain with broken rib

CASTELLAR DEL RIU, Spain, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Spain's Abraham Olano, the defending champion, pulled out of the Tour of Spain with a broken rib on Saturday, ONCE team officials said.

Olano suffered the injury on the eighth stage after a crash on a mountain descent which saw him fly down a two-metre verge.

The 1998 Tour of Spain winner held on to the race leader's golden jersey until Friday but the injury had given him severe problems during three Pyrennean mountain stages.

The ONCE team said he wanted to give his ribs time to heal before next month's world championships.

At the point he abandoned the race Olano had slumped to 12th place overall, more than 12 minutes behind race leader Jan Ullrich of Germany.

Zuelle finally shows his form

By Phil Minshull

CASTELLAR DEL RIU, Spain, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Alex Zuelle started the Tour of Spain as one of the favourites after finishing second in this year's Tour de France, but it has taken the Swiss rider until the 13th stage before finally rediscovering his form.

Zuelle, winner in 1996 and 1997 but who has had a miserable tour after finishing the opening day's prologue a lowly 37th, at last showed his form on Saturday by winning the 149-km 13th stage between Andorra and Castellar del Riu in impressive style.

The Banesto man had been made his team's undisputed leader before the Tour and for once led from the front, being part of a three-man escape which made its move after 72 kms.

The trio had nearly five minutes advantage over the peloton with 40 kms to go but a group of eight riders, including race leader Jan Ullrich, started to peddle hard during the final kilometres and the gap began to shrink fast.

After making the pace for Zuelle, Banesto colleague Jon Odriozola became a spent force and drifted back with eight kilometres remaining but Zuelle still had enough in reserve to stay ahead of the chasers and sprint away from Italy's Nicola Miceli for the seventh Tour of Spain stage victory of his career.

Zuelle won in three hours 54 minutes and 34 seconds.

``This is a very important victory for both myself and the team. Ever since Salamanca (on the 6th stage) I have not really been competitive but things came together here. Miceli was a tough man to overcome though. I knew he wanted the stage victory as well and it was quite a fight with him,'' Zuelle said.

Zuelle broke clear of the Liquigas rider only 400 metres from the line after Miceli had tried to blunt Zuelle's speed with a long surge for home over the last three kilometres.

The result was a huge boost for Zuelle and followed speculation he was considering abandoning the tour after Friday's stage when he finished a disappointing 74th.

Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France winner, finished 38 seconds behind Zuelle in fifth place to retain his lead in the overall standings for a second consecutive day, extending his lead slightly to 49 seconds over Spain's Igor Gonzalez Galdeano.

The German produced another consumate performance on the final mountain, coming home just behind men who are generally considered to be specialist climbers.

``I'm glad this is the last really hard mountain stage. In fact every stage has seemed hard despite the fact that I'm happy with the way things have gone. This has been a very fast race when you take into consideration the route, ``the Deutsche Telekom rider said.

Tour of Spain 13th stage placings/overall standings

CASTELLAR DEL RIU, Spain,Sept 18 (Reuters) - Leading results of the 13th stage of the Tour of Spain over 149-kms between Andorra and Catellar Del Riu on Saturday: 

1. Alex Zuelle (Switzerland) Banesto 3 hours 54 minutes 34 seconds 
2. Nicola Miceli (Italy) Liquigas at 14 seconds
3. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spain) Banesto 32
4. Leonardo Piepoli (Italy) Banesto 36
5. Jan Ullrich (Germany) Deutsche Telekom 38

6. Roberto Heras (Spain) Kelme same time
7. Jose Maria Uria (Spain) Kelme 47
8. Manuel Beltran (Spain) Banesto 
9. Jose Luis Rubiera (Spain) Kelme same time
10. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spain) Vitalicio 51 
11. Ivan Parra (Colombia) Vitalicio 2:06 
12. Roberto Laiseka (Spain) Euskatel same time 
13. Angel Casero (Spain) Vitalicio 2:11 
14. Santiago Blanco (Spain) Vitalicio 2:45 
15. Jon Odriozola (Spain) Banesto 3:09

Overall standings

1. Ullrich 56:42:18
2. Gonzalez Galdeano at 49 seconds
3. Heras 2:35
4. Jimenez 3:35
5. Pavel Tonkov (Russia) Mapei 3:45

6. Rubiera 4:23
7. Beltran 5:05
8. Casero 5:19
9. Piepoli 6:00
10. Parra 8:08

11. Blanco 9:24
12. Abraham Olano (Spain) ONCE 12:29
13. Uria 18:26
14. Felix Garcia Casas (Spain) Festina 20:21
15. Txema Del Olmo (Spain) Euskatel 20:31

Ullrich takes lead in Tour of Spain

By Phil Minshull

Spain's Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano of the Vitalicio cycling team celebrates after winning the 12th stage of the Tour of Spain cycling race in Andorra, Friday, Sept. 17, 1999. (AP Photo/Denis Doyle)
Sep 17, 10:55 PT

Germany's Jan Ullrich, left, gets ready to attack Spain's Abraham Olano during the 12th stage of the Tour of Spain cycling race in Andorra Friday, Sept. 17, 1999. (AP Photo/Denis Doyle)
Sep 17, 10:35 PT

ARCALIS, Andorra, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Germany's Jan Ullrich surprised himself by taking the lead in the Tour of Spain on Friday while Spain's Igor Gonzalez Galdeano continued his impressive form by winning the 12th stage.

Ullrich was the 10th rider across the line in the Pyrenees, just over a minute behind Gonzalez Galdeano, and took over the ownership of the race leader's golden jersey when Spain's Abraham Olano struggled home 20th.

The 1998 Tour of Spain winner crumbled and slumped to ninth overall, nearly six minutes behind, after leading for the past week and starting the day almost two minutes ahead.

It was a nightmare for Olano, who two years ago conceded the Tour de France lead to eventual winner Ullrich on the same summit in Andorra, and it surprised the German.

``I did not think I was going to take over the lead, that was not my aim at the start of the day,'' said Ullrich.

``I'm still not sure I can win the Tour, I don't think I've got the team for it,'' he added.

Ullrich said he got his tactics slightly wrong by concentrating on the threat posed by Russian Pavel Tonkov, the 1996 Giro d'Italia winner, rather than Gonzalez Galdeano on the stage between Sort and Arcalis in Andorra.

``I tried to get Tonkov to help me chase him up the mountain but he didn't want to, so I didn't bother as I'd already been pushing the pace earlier,'' the Deutsche Telekom rider said.

Ullrich leads Gonzalez Galdeano by 36 seconds overall with Tonkov another 12 seconds further back.

Gonzalez Galdeano covered the 147.4-kms through the mountains to the highest point on the Tour -- at 2,230 metres -- in four hours 18 minutes and 41 seconds.

He made his decisive break 25 kms from the finish and pulled away from a group of 12 riders, quickly establishing an advantage of nearly three minutes.

It was his second stage victory of the Tour. Gonzalez Galdeano won the opening day's prologue in Murcia two weeks ago and wore the gold jersey on the first stage proper.

``This has been my most satisfying moment of the Tour. I'm continuing to surprise myself,'' he said. ``I always thought I could win a stage like this but doing it is something different.''

He said his ambitions have now gone beyond winning a few stages and he has started to focus on the possibility of winning a major Tour in his first year with an elite team.

``The situation with Ullrich is now very important. He's still riding very strongly but I'm showing to myself -- and everybody else -- that I can be a consistent rider,'' he said.

The crucial point in the race came 6 kms from the finish as the riders wound their way up to the mountain top finish.

The group behind Gonzalez Galdeano started to chase hard, with Roberto Heras, Jose Maria Jimenez and Leonardo Piepoli breaking away from their other colleagues.

Gonzalez Galdeano, advised from the accompanying car by Vitalicio team director Javier Minguez, did not panic.

``I knew where they were and what they were doing. He just advised me to stay calm and maintain my rhythm over those final kilometres,'' the rider said.

The stage, with three first category mountains and a special climb at the end of it, proved to be so severe that only 90 riders finished within the normal time limit.

However officials put the rule book on one side and, rather than decimating the race, allowed the rest of the 135 finishers to start the 13th stage on Saturday.

Tour of Spain 12th stage placings/overall standings

ARCALIS, Andorra, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Leading placings in the 12th stage of the Tour of Spain over 147.4-kms between Sort and the Andorran mountain ski station at Arcalis on Friday:

1. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spain) Vitalicio 4 hours 18 minutes 41 sec
2. Roberto Heras (Spain) Kelme 40 seconds behind
3. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spain) Banesto 41
4. Leonardo Piepoli (Italy) Banesto same time
5. Jose Luis Rubiera (Spain) Kelme 1:00

6. Manuel Beltran (Spain) Banesto
7. Pavel Tonkov (Russia) Mapei
8. Angel Casero (Spain) Vitalicio all at same time
9. Ivan Parra (Colombia) Vitalicio 1:02
10. Jan Ullrich (Germany) Deutsche Telekom same time

11.Santiago Blanco (Spain) Vitalicio 1:51
12. Jose Maria Uria (Spain) Kelme same time
13. Txema Del Olmo (Spain) Euskatel 3:37
14. Victor Pena (Colombia) Vitalicio 6:14
15. Aitor Osa (Spain) Banesto 7.44

Overall standings

1. Ullrich 52:47:06
2. Gonzalez Galdeano 36 seconds behind
3. Tonkov 48
4. Heras 2:35
5. Jimenez 3:41

6. Casero 3:46
7. Rubiera 4:14
8. Beltran 4:56
9. Abraham Olano (Spain) ONCE 5:43
10. Piepoli 6:02

11. Parra  6:40
12. Blanco 7:17
13. Frank Vandenbroucke (Belgium) Cofidis 13:20
14. Felix Garcia Casas (Spain) Festina 13:35
15. Del Olmo 17:51

Nardello cheered to victory in the Pyrenees

By Phil MInshull

VAL D'ARAN, Spain, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Italy's Daniele Nardello snatched victory in a four-man sprint for the finish in the 11th stage of Tour of Spain on Thursday after being cheered all the way up the final mountain by members of his fan club.

Motivated by seeing his name scrawled in white paint on the road and boosted by the many banners held by Mapei team supporters, Nardello found his form after being troubled by a knee injury during the first week of the Tour.

He clocked a remarkably fast time of five hours, one minute and 37 seconds for the 201-km stage from Huesca to Val d'Aran, the first of three mountain stages in the Pyrenees.

``I was amazed at how quick the race was, both when we were in the main escape and also the final sprint when there was just four of us,'' the delighted Nardello said.

It was his first Tour of Spain stage victory since 1996, when he also won a mountain stage, but it came as no surprise despite the long gap.

``I'd been hoping to win a stage because I came into the end of the season in 100 percent shape. Now I've worked through the slight problem I had behind my left knee I think I can do well in other stages.''

Spain's Abraham Olano had his overall lead cut by nearly half a minute, with Germany's 1997 Tour de France champion Jan Ullrich now one minute 39 seconds behind in second place and Nardello's Mapei team leader, Pavel Tonkov of Russia, 2:29 behind the leader in third place.

Nardello was part of a 22-man escape which left the rest of the peloton behind at 39 kms. The leading bunch started to splinter into small groups about 20 kms from the finish, as they approached the final climb of the day.

The group of four who contested the stage victory made their decisive move seven kms from the summit of Pla de Beret.

Colombia's Victor Pena finished second and Spain's Felix Garcia Casas third. Both were given the same time as the winner.

Nardello can thank Mapei team director Fabrizio Fabbri for releasing him from his primary job on the Tour -- protecting and assisting Tonkov up the mountains.

When nothing more could be done on Thursday, Nardello was given permission to go for the glory on his own.

Tonkov eventually came home 22nd, six minutes and 59 seconds behind Nardello.

``There are more difficult climbs to come so I am sure I can get even closer to Olano,'' Tonkov, the 1996 Giro D'Italia winner and a noted climber, said.

Olano struggled on the last mountain and cut a miserable figure as he crossed the line in an isolated 33nd place, without any help from his ONCE team during the final kilometres.

Tour of Spain 11th stage placings/overall standings

official adjustment) 

VAL D'ARAN, Spain, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Leading placings in the 11th stage of the Tour of Spain over 201-kms from Huesca to Val D'Aran on Thursday: 

1. Daniele Nardello (Italy) Mapei 5 hours 1 minute 37 seconds 
2. Victor Pena (Colombia) Vitalicio 
3. Felix Garcia Casas (Spain) Festina 
4. Jose Manuel Uria (Spain) Kelme same time
5. Jose Garcia Acosta (Spain) Banesto 6 seconds behind

6. Jon Odriozola (Spain) Banesto 31
7. Sergey Ivanov (Russia) TVM 1:30
8. David Garcia (Spain) Vitaklicio 
9. Melchor Mauri (Spain) Benfica all at same time
10. Massimo Codol (Italy) Lampre 1:42

11. Salvatore Commesso (Italy) Saeco 2:25
12. Christophe Rinero (france) Cofidis 3:20
13. Andrea Tafi (Italy) Mapei 6:38
14. Oscar Pozzi (Italy) Riso Scotti same time
15. Fabrizio Guidi (Italy) Polti 6:47

Leading overall standings: 

1. Abraham Olano (Spain) ONCE 48:25:44
2. Jan Ullrich (Germany) Deutsche Telekom 1:39 behind
4. Pavel Tonkov (Russia) Mapei 2:29
3. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spain) Vitalicio 3:17
5. Roberto Heras (Spain) Kelme 4:36

6. Angel Casero (Spain) Vitalicio 5:27
7. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spain) Banesto 5:41
8. Jose Luis Rubiera (Spain) Kelme 5:55
9. Davide Rebellin (Italy) Polti 6:33
10. Manuel Beltran (Spain) Banesto 6:37

11. Frank Vandenbroucke (Belgium) Cofidis 7:37
12. Garcia Casas 7:52
13. Leonardo Piepoli (Italy) Banesto 8:02
14. Santiago Blanco (Spain) Vitalicio 8:07
15. Ivan Parra (Colombia) Vitalicio 8:19

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