33rd Tirreno Adriatico, Hors Category

Italy, March 11-18, 1998

Stage 2, Sorrento-Baia Domizia, 164 kms:

 1. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom			    4.10.22 (40.500)
 2. Jan Svorada (Cze) Mapei
 3. Steven De Jongh (Ned) TVM
 4. Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Cofidis
 5. Mario Manzoni (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave
 6. Dario Pieri (Ita) Scrigno-Gaerne 
 7. Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Mapei
 8. Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Scrigno
 9. Federico De Beni (Ita) Riso Scotti-MG
10. Rolf Sörensen (Den) Rabobank
11. Davide Casarotto (Ita) Scrigno-Gaerne 
12. Nicola Loda (Ita) Ballan 
13. Pedro Horillo (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros
14. Mirco Crepaldi (Ita) Polti 
15. Roberto Pistore (Ita) Riso Scotti-MG
16. Gianluca Pierobon (Ita) Kross
16. Germano Pierdomenico (Ita) Cantina Tollo
17. Rolf Jaermann (Swi) Casino
18. Claudio Chiappucci (Ita) Ros Mary - Amica Chips
19. Andrei Zintchenko (Rus) Vitalicio Seguros
20. Laurent Desbiens (Fra) Cofidis
22. Laurent Brochard (Fra) Festina
23. Ermanno Brignoli (Ita) Riso Scotti-MG
24. Stefano Faustini (Ita) Vini Caldirola
25. Marco Giroletti (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave
26. Andrea Noe' (Ita) Asics
27. Servais Knaven (Ned) TVM
28. Laurent Roux (Fra) TVM-Farm Frites
29. Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) Telekom-ARD
30. Jan Schaffrath (Ger) Telekom-ARD 
31. Franco Ballerini (Ita) Mapei
32. Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Kross
33. Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom-ARD
34. Emanuele Lupi (Ita) Amore e Vita
35. Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Telekom-ARD 			0.25
36. Vincent Cali (Fra) Casino 			       24.31
37. Marc Streel (Bel) Casino 			       25.57
38. Marco Vergnani (Ita) Kross
39. Mauro Gianetti (Swi) La Francaise des Jeux
40. Jacky Durand (Fra) Casino
41. Flavio Vanzella (Ita) La Francaise des Jeux
42. Fabian Jeker (Swi) Festina
43. Francesco Frattini (Ita) Telekom-ARD
44. Valerio Tebaldi (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave
45. Marco Milesi (Ita) Brescialat-Liquigas
46. Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Festina
47. Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Ballan
48. Gianluca Pianegonda (Ita) Mapei
49. Fabrizio Bontempi (Ita) Ros Mary - Amica Chips
50. Luca Sironi (Ita) Vini Caldirola
51. Pascal Richard (Swi) Casino
Started 180
Finished 51
Non-classified 125
Retired 4

GC after Stage 2

 1. Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Scrigno		     7.38.12
 2. Mario Manzoni (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave		0.03
 3. Germano Pierdomenico (Ita) Cantina Tollo		0.04
 4. Rolf Sörensen (Den) Rabobank
 5. Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Mapei
 6. Nicola Loda (Ita) Ballan
 7. Davide Casarotto (Ita) Scrigno-Gaerne
 8. Rolf Jaermann (Swi) Casino
 9. Claudio Chiappucci (Ita) Ros Mary - Amica Chips
10. Franco Ballerini (Ita) Mapei
11. Ermanno Brignoli (Ita) Riso Scotti-MG 
12. Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom-ARD 
13. Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Kross 
14. Andrea Noe' (Ita) Asics
15. Dario Pieri (Ita) Scrigno-Gaerne 
16. Laurent Brochard (Fra) Festina
17. Servais Knaven (Ned) TVM
18. Emanuele Lupi (Ita) Amore e Vita
19. Roberto Pistore (Ita) Riso Scotti-MG
20. Stefano Faustini (Ita) Vini Caldirola
21. Jan Schaffrath (Ger) Telekom-ARD
22. Andrei Zintchenko (Rus) Vitalicio Seguros		0.58
23. Steven De Jongh (Ned) TVM				4.51
24. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom				6.06
25. Steffen Wesemann (Ger) Telekom-ARD			8.04
26. Horrillo Munoz (Spa)				9.25
27. Jan Svorada (Cze) Mapei		       	       11.33
28. Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Cofidis        	       11.36
29. Mirco Crepaldi (Ita) Polti
30. Federico De Beni (Ita) Riso Scotti-MG
31. Laurent Desbiens (Fra) Cofidis
32. Gianluca Pierobon (Ita) Kross
33. Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) Telekom-ARD
34. Marco Giroletti (Ita) Mobilvetta-Northwave
35. Laurent Roux (Fra) TVM-Farm Frites
51. Marco Vergnani (Ita) Kross		               37.33

51 still in classification.

Brief Report

Telekom's Erik Zabel won Stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico which was raced in heavy rain and was full of controversy. The 175 km route between Sorrento and Baia Domizia was an essentially flat stage. However in the rain, there was a major crash following a series of smaller falls and eventually the riders protested. The major fall occurred with about 50 kms to go and more than 50 per cent of the field (128 riders) were brought down or otherwise involved. The fallen riders requested that the organisation of the tour halt the race to prevent the leaders from taking an unfair advantage. The organisation denied this request. The result was that a large group of riders rode "piano" into the finish in protest and were some 26 minutes behind the German victor. The conditions were very poor during the first stage and riders also complained.

Among those that fell were Italians Michele Bartoli and Maurizio Fondriest. The most serious injury was sustained by Italian Alessandro Spezialetti from the Riso Scotti-MG team who fractured his leg. The leader was reported on Italian radio as saying: "There was a big fall. Everyone fell. I managed to get clear and I chased the leaders."

Bartoli also said that the "officials should have restrained those who made a break when the accident happened."

The officials, however, merely interpreted the race rules literally which do not allow such a stoppage to occur. The result is now a farcical situation where the 129 riders who protested were ruled "outside the time limit" and have been eliminated from the race. There are now on 51 riders left with 6 stages to go.

A top group of 35 riders finished with the same time, with Erik Zabel coming through to win the sprint and show some signs of form that up until now has been absent. Zabel beat Jan Svorada.

The Rules

The 8 stage Tirreno-Adriatico is divided into three types of stage: easy (flat), undulating and mountain. The second stage between Sorrento-Baia Domizia was considered to be a first category (easy) race and the maximum time limit was set at up to 8 per cent of the winner, based on the average speed of Erik Zabel of 40.501 km/h. In consideration of the adverse climatic conditions, the organisation of the race, decided to make the maximum time limit of 26.11 after the winning time, after invoking a special rule of the race which gives the directors some discretion to deviate from the formula.

125 riders were still outside this time and were thus eliminated.