July 14/97 10:37 am - Brochard Wins Stage 9, Vasseur Stills Leads
Posted by Editor on 07/14/97
We are into the first of the mountain stages today, and what a stage: 182 kilometres from Pau to Loudenvielle; 1 â€žBeyond Categoryâ€° climb, 2 1st Category climbs and a second Category. As the riders headed for the first climb (Col du Soulour) the pace began to accelerate. The sprinters started to lose contact - Moncassin, then Zabel, and finally Jalabert - and Olano had a scare when he flatted 10 km from the top, but his team paced him back up. It was on this first climb that, as expected, Yellow Jersey Cedric Vasseur was dropped (3 km from the top). By the top the lead group (containing Virenque, Olano and Riis) was down to below 30 riders, and there was thick fog obscuring visibility. Polka Dot Jersey holder Laurent Brochard was first over, and the riders then had to contend with the fog on the way back down. Chris Boardman crashed on the descent.
At the 65 kilometre mark the peleton regrouped, with Jalabert, Zabel and Vasseur rejoining the front. Two riders - Pascal Herve and Javier Rodriguez - broke free just before this and established a lead of 4 minutes as the riders began the beyond category climb up Tourmalet. Again, riders such as Vasseur and Zabel were dropped early, as the front group began to eat into the lead of Herve and Rodriguez. The pace was so strong, that top climber Brochard and Olano were both dropped with 8 kilometres still to go to the summit.
At the front, Jan Ullrich, Bjarne Riis, Udo Bolts, Marco Pantani and 8 others were closing in on the breakaway duo. The attacks began in ernest with only 3 km to the top - Virenque jumped and was countered by Ullrich, as the lead chase group began to disintegrate. Over the top, Herve was followed by Rodriguez and Virenque, as the group was barely behind (now 8 riders, including Riis). At the top of the climb the lead duo were only 20 seconds in front of the chasers, however, by the bottom of the descent they were back up to nearly a minute.
Once again the peleton regrouped, with riders such as Jalabert, Olano and Vasseur catching back on. Herve and Rodriguez went back up to 1:40 just before the Cat. 2 climb of Col dâ€šAspin. The gap stayed pretty stable for much of the climb, until Telekom rider Udo Bolts forced the pace, bringing it back to 1 minute. It continued to drop - and the leaders were caught just before the top. Incredibly, Herve attacked again, and was 10 seconds clear over the top, 45 seconds at the base. His teammates Brochard and Rous, with Camenzind, attacked off the front group and joined Herve at the final sprint of the day in St Lary Soulan. Brochard then attacked, dropping both his teammates, but not Camenzind - at this point the two frontrunners had a 2 minute lead on the chase group.
As the riders ascended Cote de Val Louron Aret, the final Cat 1 climb of the stage, Virenque attacked multiple times, thinning the chasers down to himself, Ullrich, Riis Pantani, Jimenez and Escartin. Virenque continued to launch attacks, to no avail, however, the time between Brochard and the chasers was dropping (Brochard and then the chasers dropped Camenzind). Less than a kilometre from the top Virenque jumped again, this time dropping Riis. Brochard was caught by the remaining chasers as they began the final descent .
Pantani now made his escape attempt on the downhill, with only Ullrich and Virenque responding. Brochard and Jimenez were at 15 seconds, Riis at 30, and the Yellow Jersey, Vasseur at nearly 3 minutes (but still in the overall lead). Brochard managed to rejoin the front trio with less than 3 kilometres to go, and he and Virenque started counter-attacking to make Ullrich work. Brochard managed to finally shake Ullrich to take the stage win ahead of Virenque and Pantani.
It appears that the only Canadian in the Tour, Gord Fraser, has dropped out.
Stage Results (Unofficial)
1. Laurent Brochard (Fra) 5:24:57
2. Richard Virenque (Fra) at 0:14
3. Marco Pantani (Ita) s.t.
4. Jan Ullrich (Dui) s.t.
5. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spa) 0.:33
6. Laurent Dufaux (Zwi) 0:41
7. Fernando Escartin (Spa)
8. Bjarne Riis (Den)
9. Francesco Casagrande (Ita) all s.t.
10. Joona Laukka (Fin) 1:07
11. Abraham Olano (Spa)
12. Oskar Camenzind (Zwi) all s.t.
13. Manuel Beltran (Spa) 1:23
14. Laurent Madouas (Fra) 2:24
Cedric Vasseur (Fra) 2:57
1. Cedric Vasseur (Fra)
2. Jan Ullrich (Dui) at 0:13
3. Abraham Olano (Spa) 1:14
4. Bjarne Riis (Den) 1:43
5. Richard Virenque (Fra) s.t.
6. Fernando Escartin (Spa) 2:14
7. Laurent Dufaux (Zwi) 2:48
8. Oskar Camenzind (Zwi) 3:43
9. Daniele Nardello (Ita) 3:49
10. Laurent Brochard (Fra) 4:04
11. Laurent Madouas (Fra) 4:05
12. Peter Luttenberger (Oos) 4:13
13. Marco Pantani (Ita) 4:24
14. Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) 4:25