July 28/98 11:21 am - Ullrich takes Stage 16
Posted by Editor on 07/28/98
Ullrich Fights Back
Another epic stage in the Tour today. After the obligatory early breakaway, the real action began on the last climb of the day, the Beyond Category Col de la Madeleine. Jan Ullrich (Telekom) launched a massive attack on the lower part of the climb, and only Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno) was able to respond. Bobby Julich (Cofidis) had the most to lose from this attack - namely, second place overall - but he was not able to counter. Ullrich pulled Pantani over the top of the climb, past the early breakaways, and the two descended furiously. Ullrich (now, finally, assisted by Pantani) then went into time trial mode, trying to make up the 2:03 deficit that he had on Julich. Meanwhile, Julich was on his own back in the chase group of 7, with no teammates to share the workload. While he did manage to limit his losses on Ullrich to 1:48, and hang onto his second place, Ullrich has made a large dent in the gap (it is down to 15 seconds), and Julich has to be concerned about the time trial that is coming up in a couple of days. For the record, it was Ullrich, Pantani, Julich (at 1:48), Fernando Escartin (Kelme) and Axel Merckx (Polti).