Stages and Riders
Prologue, DublinSince the first Prologue in Angers in 1967 the short ITT has started the Tour de France 31 times. The shortest prologue was 4.6 kms in 1986 in Boulogne-Billancourt near Paris. The longest prologue was in 1969 in Roubaix, where the riders had to contend with a 10.4 kms circuit.
5 Dutch riders have won the prologue: Joop Zoetemelk in 1973 at Scheveningen, Jan Raas in 1978 at Leiden, Gerrie Knetemann in 1979 at Fleurance, Jelle Nijdam in 1987 at Berlin and Erik Breukink in 1989 at Luxemburg. Knetemann's victory was achieved with an average speed of 50.58 km/h. The Prologue provides the most lucrative kms of the whole Tour. The winner receives high publicity and gets to wear the yellow jersey for Stage 1 on the following day.
The fastest prologue was in Lille (1994) where Chris Boardman rode the 7.2 kms circuit in an average speed of 55.152 kms per hour.
The circuit in Dublin is flat and has 5 sharp bends. Favourites for the prologue are Christopher Boardman, Alex Zülle, Bjarne Riis, Jan Ullrich, Abraham Olano and Laurent Jalabert.
Official PhotosThese photos were sent to me by the official organisation of the Tour de France. The Official WWW Site is at http://www.letour.com
Brief:Chris Boardman finally saw the light on Saturday after a long period of self-doubt. He rode the 5.6 kms Prologue course in 6.12 at an average of 54.193 km/h. The Prologue would through the streets of Dublin as the 1998 Tour de France went away from the European continent to avoid the mondial. Abraham Olano came in second 4 seconds down with Laurent Jalabert at 5 seconds in third.
Boardman told the press afterwards that the has been going through a period of uncertainty and self-doubt about his abilities, especially to recover after hard races. He is quoted as saying: This is my best victory in a Tour prologue because I have been going through hard times. This win is a big surprise and I dedicate it to my wife Sally Anne. Without her I would not have been here today." He has been plagued by low testosterone levels. Perhaps he needs to see the Festina doctor!
Defending Tour winner, German Jan Ullrich was 5th at 5 seconds but he looked powerful and slim. He categorically said afterwards that the Tour was his goal for 1998 and that he had done the work necessary. He is reported as saying: "Many people had doubts but I have proved I am on the right road for another success in Paris. That was my aim for this prologue. Boardman is a specialist who takes risks to win but I am very happy with my prologue."
Meanwhile, Belgian Willy Voet a medical staff member of Festina who is the personal carer for team leader Richard Virenque, was arrested on Thursday near the Belgian border by customs officers. He was carrying steroids and EPO.
Drug Scandal on Day One:
The 1998 Tour de France has now started and not exactly in the way that the official results will record. It was announced yesterday that the soigneur of the the French Festina team was arrested on Thursday on the French-Belgian border by customs officials for carrying banned substances.
The French Minister for the Sports, Marie-George Dresser, who is in Dublin for the start of the Tour requested that everyone calm down prior to the final results of the investigation being known. He concurred with officials that strong sanctions would be given against any riders or team officials who were implicated in the affair.
He is reported by the French media as saying: "We must first confirm the information. If the facts are exact, they are of an extreme gravity because they are significant quantities."
Willy Voet, soigneur for Festina and the personal carer for team leader Richard Virenque, was stopped in his Festina Tour car last Thursday close to Neuville-in-Férain, near Lille in northern France. The customs officers discovered a few hundreds of grams and capsules of anabolic steroids, as well as EPO, and other doping products and syringes. Voet, has been the personal soigneur to Richard Virenque since the days of RMO. He was detained in police custody in Lille.
He is reported as saying that the drugs were for his personal use. What a joke! A legal investigation is now underway. The presumption is that the drugs were intended for riders in the Festina team. The Festina offices were searched on Thursday evening in Lyon and other suspect products were seized.
In Voet's car alone the customs officers found 250 bottles of EPO coming from three laboratories in Germany and Switzerland. In all, 400 bottles and ampules of various products were found. Enough for the Tour! Voet is alleged to have driven from Lyon and to Switzerland and onto Germany before returning to Belgium.
The director of the Tour de France, Jean-Marie Leblanc, said that the Tour organisation was not concerned and would not take any immediate sanctions. He is reported as saying: "If it is about a business of doping, it does not concern us. It was not a rider, it was not in race and the arrest occurred hundreds of kilometers away from the race. When the investigation is finished, we will be able to react. We have often said we are against doping."
Leaders of the Festina team, which has three of the top Tour contenders - Richard Virenque, Alex Zülle and Laurent Dufaux, will attend hearings when they return from Ireland on Monday evening or Tuesday. The French Government has confirmed that they will require explanations.
Questioned the day before by Reuters, Bruno Roussel, sporting director of Festina, expressed his great surprise. He said: "I know nothing. It must be a question of a dirty trick."
The arrest of Willy Voet was the culmination of a long investigation by police and customs officers who have been concerned about the drug networks in Europe.
Prologue, Dublin, ITT 5.6 kms:
1. Chris Boardman (GB) GAN 6.12 (54.193) 2. Abraham Olano (Spa) Banesto 0.04 3. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) ONCE 0.05 4. Bobby Julich (USA) Cofidis 0.05 5. Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina 0.05 6. Jan Ullrich (Ger) Telekom 0.05 7. Alex Zulle (Swi) Festina 0.07 8. Laurent Dufaux (Swi) Festina 0.09 9. Andreï Tchmil (Bel) Lotto 0.10 10. Vjatceslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal 0.11 11. Frankie Andreu (USA) US Postal 0.11 12. Angel Casero (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros 0.11 13. Stéphane Heulot (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 0.11 14. Richard Virenque (Fra) Festina 0.12 15. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Cofidis 0.12 16. Laurent Brochard (Fra) Festina 0.12 17. Servais Knaven (Ned) TVM 0.12 18. Mario Cipollini (Ita) Saeco 0.13 19. Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.13 20. Giuseppe Di Grande (Ita) Mapei 0.13 21. Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Lotto 0.13 22. Frédéric Moncassin (Fra) GAN 0.13 23. Bjarne Riis (Den) Telekom 0.14 24. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) GAN 0.15 25. Bo Hamburger (Den) Casino 0.16 26. George Hincapie (USA) US Postal 0.16 27. Dariusz Baranowski (Pol) US Postal 0.17 28. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 0.17 29. Patrick Jonker (Aus) Rabobank 0.17 30. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Casino 0.18 31. Massimo Podenzana (Ita) Mercatone Uno 0.18 32. Jens Voigt (Ger) GAN 0.18 33. Peter Meinert (Den) US Pstal 0.19 34. Aleksandre Shefer (Kaz) Asics 0.19 35. Serguei Ivanov (Rus) TVM 0.19 36. Gianmatteo Fagnini (Ita) Saeco 0.19 37. Melchor Mauri (Spa) ONCE 0.19 38. Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei 0.19 39. Johan Bruyneel (Bel) ONCE 0.20 40. Rolf Aldag (Ger) Telekom 0.20 41. Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei 0.20 42. Jacky Durand (Fra) Casino 0.20 43. Philippe Gaumont (Fra) Cofidis 0.20 44. Alberto Elli (Ita) Casino 0.21 45. Fabrizio Guidi (Ita) Polti 0.21 46. Axel Merckx (Bel) Polti 0.21 47. Alexei Sivakov (Rus) Big Mat-Auber 93 0.22 48. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Casino 0.22 49. Didier Rous (Fra) Festina 0.22 50. Andreï Teteriouk (Kaz) Lotto 0.22 51. Neil Stephens (Aus) Festina 0.22 52. Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank 0.22 53. Santiago Blanco (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros 0.22 54. Luc Leblanc (Fra) Polti 0.23 55. Stéphane Barthe (Fra) Casino 0.23 56. Bart Leysen (Bel) Mapei 0.23 57. Rodolfo Massi (Ita) Casino 0.23 58. Marino Alonso (Spa) Banesto 0.23 59. Peter Van Petegem (Bel) TVM 0.23 60. Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 0.24 61. Jose Luis Arrieta (Spa) Banesto 0.24 62. Erik Zabel (Ger)Telekom 0.24 63. Ludovic Auger (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 0.24 64. Evgeni Berzin (Rus) La Francaise des Jeux 0.24 65. Cédric Vasseur (Fra) GAN 0.24 66. Christophe Rinero (Fra) Cofidis 0.24 67. Magnus Backstedt (Swe) GAN 0.24 68. Thierry Bourguignon (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 0.24 69. Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank 0.25 70. Herminio Diaz Zabala (Spa) ONCE 0.25 71. Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei 0.25 72. Michaël Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank 0.25 73. Vicent Garcia-Acosta (Spa) Banesto 0.25 74. Pascal Lino (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 0.25 75. Tyler Hamilton (USA) US Postal 0.25 76. Rossano Brasi (Ita)Polti 0.25 77. Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) TVM 0.25 78. Luis Perez Rodriguez (Spa) ONCE 0.26 79. Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank 0.26 80. Marcos Serrano (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.26 81. Pascal Hervé (Fra) Festina 0.26 82. Miguel Angel Pena (Spa) Banesto 0.27 83. Robbie Mc Ewen (Aus) Rabobank 0.27 84. Marty Jemison (USA) US Postal 0.27 85. Laurent Roux (Fra) TVM 0.27 86. Pascal Chanteur (Fra) Casino 0.27 87. Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 0.27 88. Jens Heppner (Ger) Telekom 0.27 89. Bart Voskamp (Ned) TVM 0.27 90. Santos Gonzalez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.27 91. Christophe Mengin (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 0.27 92. Simone Borgheresi (Ita) Mercatone Uno 0.28 93. Fernando Escartin (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.28 94. Eddy Seigneur (Fra) GAN 0.28 95. Georg Totschnig (Aut) Telekom 0.28 96. Roland Meier (Swi) Cofidis 0.28 97. Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) US Postal 0.28 98. Mirco Crepaldi (Ita) Polti 0.28 99. Mario Scirea (Ita) Saeco 0.29 100. Rafael Diaz Justo (Spa) ONCE 0.29 101. Jorg Jaksche (Ger/Polti 0.29 102. José Angel Vidal (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.29 103. Tom Steels (Bel) Mapei 0.29 104. José Rodriguez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.29 105. François Simon (Fra) GAN 0.29 106. Maximilian Sciandri (GB) La Francaise des Jeux 0.30 107. Sergio Barbero (Ita) Mercatone Uno 0.30 108. Laurent Desbiens (Fra) Cofidis 0.30 109. Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Cofidis 0.30 110. Prudencio Indurain (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros 0.30 111. Filippo Simeoni (Ita) Asics 0.30 112. Thierry Gouvenou (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 0.30 113. Vladislav Bobrik (Rus) Riso Scotti 0.31 114. Silvio Martinello (Ita) Polti 0.31 115. Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Saeco 0.31 116. Denis Leproux (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 0.31 117. David Garcia (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros 0.31 118. Riccardo Forconi (Ita) Mercatone Uno 0.32 119. Kevin Livingston (USA) Cofidis 0.32 120. Fabiano Fontanelli (Ita) Mercatone Uno 0.32 121. Diego Ferrari (Ita) Asics 0.32 122. Udo Bolts (Ger) Telekom 0.32 123. Mario Traversoni (Ita) Mercatone Uno 0.32 124. Hernan Buenahora (Col) Vitalicio Seguros 0.32 125. Jan Svorada (Cze) Mapei 0.32 126. Eros Poli (Ita) GAN 0.33 127. Ermanno Brignoli (Ita) Riso Scotti 0.33 128. Roberto Conti (Ita) Mercatone Uno 0.33 129. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spa) Banesto 0.34 130. Wilfried Peeters (Bel) Mapei 0.34 131. Oliveiro Rincon (Col) Vitalicio Seguros 0.34 132. Francisco Benitez (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros 0.35 133. Sergei Outschakov (Ukr) TVM 0.35 134. Armin Meier (Swi) Festina 0.35 135. Manuel Beltran (Spa) Banesto 0.35 136. Pascal Derame (Fra) US Postal 0.36 137. Viatchesla Djavanian (Rus) Big Mat-Auber 93 0.36 138. Stéfano Casagranda (Ita) Riso Scotti 0.37 139. Javier Mauleon (Spa) ONCE 0.37 140. Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco 0.37 141. Franck Bouyer (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 0.37 142. Franco Ballerini (Ita) Mapei 0.37 143. Laurent Madouas (Fra) Lotto 0.37 144. Xavier Jan (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 0.37 145. Andrea Ferrigato (Ita) Vitalicio Seguros 0.37 146. Carlo Bianchi (Ita) Asics 0.38 147. Joona Laukka (Fin) Lotto 0.38 148. Roberto Sierra (Spa) ONCE 0.38 149. Nicola Minali (Ita) Riso Scotti 0.38 150. Benoît Salmon (Fra) Casino 0.38 151. Dimitri Konychev (Rus) Mercatone Uno 0.38 152. Lars Michaelsen (Den) TVM 0.39 153. Marcelino Garcia (Spa) ONCE 0.39 154. Carlos Contreras (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.39 155. Federico De Beni (Ita) Riso Scotti 0.39 156. Aart Vierhouten (Ned) Rabobank 0.39 157. Steven De Jongh (Ned) TVM 0.39 158. Fabio Baldato (Ita) Riso Scotti 0.40 159. Paul Van Hyfte (Bel) Lotto 0.40 160. Oscar Pozzi (Ita) Asics 0.40 161. Alessio Bongioni (Ita) Asics 0.40 162. José Javier Gomez (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.41 163. Fra Garcia Rodriguez (Spa) Vitalicio Seguros 0.41 164. Francesco Frattini (Ita) Telekom 0.41 165. Fabio Roscioli (Ita) Asics 0.41 166. César Solaun (Spa) Banesto 0.41 167. Orlando Rodrigues (Por) Banesto 0.42 168. Peter Farazijn (Bel) Lotto 0.42 169. Lylian Lebreton (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 0.43 170. Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Polti 0.43 171. Geert Verheyen (Bel) Lotto 0.43 172. Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saeco 0.44 173. Roberto Pistore (Ita) Riso Scotti 0.44 174. Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) Saeco 0.46 175. Leonardo Guidi (Ita) Polti 0.46 176. Samuele Schiavina (Ita) Asics 0.46 177. Philippe Bordenave (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 0.46 178. Kurt Van de Wouwer (Bel) Lotto 0.46 179. Christian Henn (Ger) Telekom 0.47 180. Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) Cofidis 0.48 181. Marco Pantani (Ita) Mercatone Uno 0.48 182. Damien Nazon (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 0.48 183. Francisco Cabello (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.49 184. Roberto Caruso (Ita) Riso Scotti 0.50 185. José De Los Angeles (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca 0.51 186. Giuseppe Calcaterra (Ita) Saeco 0.51 187. Massimo Donati (Ita) Saeco 0.51 188. Alain Turicchia (Ita) Asics 0.55 189. Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Riso Scotti 1.01