July 10/97 10:45 am - Vasseur Wins on Breakaway
Posted by Editor on 07/10/97
Vasseur Wins Epic Breakaway
It looked like another doomed early breakaway attempt when Cedric Vasseur of Chris Boardmanâ€šs GAN team took off at the 114 kilometre of todays 261.5 kilometre stage from from Chantonnay to La Chatre. However, a lack of coordination among the teams, spelled success for this French rider. Possibly he was also helped by the fact that the peleton is spooked by the number of crashes occurring, and the number of riders being forced to retire. Today the race lost another favourite, with Alex Zulle being a no-show on the starting line.
Vasseurâ€šs lead quickly climbed, reaching a maximum of nearly 18 minutes just 50 kilometres after he dropped the pack. From that point on it started to drop, but slowly, slowly - with 65 kilometres to go he was still nearly 13 minutes in front. Over the only major climb of the day (Cote dâ€šArgenton-Sur-Creuse) Vasseur still had just under 10 minutes. Batik had been doing much of the chasing at that point, but then their leader, Evgeni Berzin, suffered a flat, again taking the impetus out of the chase. With the final sprint (Neuvy Saint Sepulcre, 245 km mark) out of the way, most of the main teams seemed to give up, and started to think about preparing themselves for the sprint for second. Zabel has been only 4 seconds behind Cipollini starting the stage, but had taken valuable bonus seconds away from the Saeco Cannondale rider in the final intermediate sprint, so the finish would be crucial to both teamsâ€š plans.
With about 12 km to go Agnolutto (Casino) attacked, and was quickly shadowed by Vasseurâ€šs team mate Stuart Oâ€šGrady. They were joined by 8 others, including Bo Hamburger (TVM). With 10 km to go the chasers were 1 minute up on the pack and 5:20 behind Vasseur (who had about 5 km to go). Vasseur cruised into the finish after a break of over 145 km to take both the stage and the Yellow Jersey. Oâ€šGrady made it 1-2 for Gan, while the pack, containing former race leader Mario Cipollini finished nearly three and a half minutes back. Vasseur no leads by 2:17 over Cipollini, with Zabel a further 2 seconds in arrears.
1. Cedric Vasseur (Fra) 6:16:44
2. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) at 2:32
3. Marco Artunghi (Ita)
4. Francisco Cabello (Spa)
5. Peter-Meinert Nielsen (Den)
6. Thierry Bourguignon (Fra)
7. Fabrice Gougot (Fra)
8. Stephane Cueff (Fra)
9. Marco Zen (Ita)
10. Bo Hamburger (Den)
11. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) all s.t.
12. Mario Cipollini (Ita) 3:24
13. Erik Zabel (Ger) s.t.
1. Cedric Vasseur (Fra) 28:14:35
2. Mario Cipollini (Ita) at 2:17
3. Erik Zabel (Ger) 2:19
4. Chris Boardman (GB) 2:54
5. Jan Ullrich (Ger) 2:56
6. Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) 3:00
7. Abraham Olano (Spa) 3:04