Circuit de La Sarthe, Cat 2.4

France, April 9-12, 1997

Stage One
Stage Two
Stage Three
Stages 4a, 4b and Final GC


The 45th edition of Circuit de la Sarthe has attracted a class field with Tony Rominger, Nicolas Jalabert and Maurizio Fondriest from Cofidis, Max Sciandri and Frederic Guesdon from La Francaise des Jeux, Sergei Ivanov, Bo Hamburger, Maarten den Bakker and Jeroen Blijlevens from TVM, Pascal Lino from Big Mat-Auber, Melchor Mauri from Once and Armand de las Cuevas from Banesto.

The Stages

Stage 1, La Fleche-La Fleche,134,4 km
Stage 2, La Fleche-Alencon, 196,6 km
Stage 3, Alencon-Besse sur Braye, 182,4 km
Stage 4a, Bouloire-Thorigne sur Due (ITT), 16,6 km
Stage 4b, Thorigne sur Due-Le Mans, 100 km.

Stage 1, La Fleche - La Fleche 134.4 km:

  1. Jeremy Hunt (Gbr) Banesto                  3.03.00 (44,066 km/h)
  2. Maurizio Tomi (Ita) Ros Mary
  3. Filippo Meloni (Ita) Amore e Vita
  4. Sandro Giacomelli (Ita) Amore e Vita        
  5. Sergei Ivanov (Rus) TVM
 37. Tony Rominger (Sch) Cofidis               all s.t.

Stage 1 Report

Britain's Jeremy Hunt sprinted clear to take the first stage of the Sarthe cycling race here on Wednesday.

Hunt outpaced Italians Maurizio Tomi and Filippo Meloni as the opening stage of the race developed into a mass sprint after the main group reeled in a breakway trio.

Frenchman Damien Nazon, Tyler Hamilton of the U.S. and Italian Marco Saleri were caught 30 kilometers from the end of the 134.4 km stage, and, after an initial burst by Swiss rider Tony Rominger, Hunt pulled clear to record the second stage victory of his career.

Stage 2, La Flhche-Alencon, 196,6 km:

  1. Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) TVM                5.22.51 (36,201 km/h)
  2. Bobby Julich (Usa) Cofidis
  3. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Cofidis
  4. Damien Nazon (Fra) Francaise des Jeux
  5. Maurizio Fondriest (Ita) Cofidis          all s.t.


  1. Bobby Julich (Usa) Cofidis                  8.28.51
  2. Maurizio Tomi (Ita) Ros Mary
  3. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Cofidis
  4. Fulvio Frigo (Ita) Kross Montanari
  5. Christophe Mengin (Fra) Francaise des Jeux
 31. Tony Rominger (Sch) Cofidis                all s.t.

Stage 2 Brief

The stage had a lot of hills without any real escapes occuring because the TVM team worked hard to make sure there would be a mass sprint at the finish to give Jeroen Blijlevens the best chance.

Jeremy Hunt wasn't able to defend his leadership. In the final stages he punctured.

Stage 3, Alengon - Besse-sur-Braye, 182,4 km:

 1. Jeroen Blijlevens (Ned) TVM			4.34.27
 2. Maurizio Tomi (Ita) Ros Mary 
 3. Sandro Giacomelli (Ita) Amore e Vita
 4. Damien Nazon (Fra)                             
 5. Filippo Meloni (Ita)                        all s.t.


 1. Maurizio Tomi (Ita) Ros Mary 		13.03.18
 2. Bobby Julich (US)                             
 3. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra)                          
 4. Fulvio Frigo (Ita)                              
 5. Sandro Giacomeli (Ita)                      all s.t. 

Stage 3 Report

Dutchman Jeroen Blijlevens (TVM) has achieved today his second victory at the Circuit de La Sarthe, which was contested between Alecon and Besse-sur-Braye over 182.4 kms., while Maurizio Tomy, second in the stage, becomes the new leader. Blijlevens won the sprint yesterday on the second stage and Tomy becomes the third leader of the race, after British Jeremy Hunt and American Bobby Julich. Tomorrow's stage will be composed of two sectors. In the morning a time trial, with Tony Rominger, Armand de las Cuevas and Pascal Lino amongst the favorites. In the afternoon a 100 kms. road race which will conclude the race.

Stage 4a, Individual time trial, 16.6 kms:

 1. Melchior Mauri 		21.28
 2. Pascal Lino 		 0.12
 3. Tony Rominger 		 0.17

Stage 4b, Thorigne-sur-Due - Le Mans, 100 km:

  1. Flippo Meloni (Ita) Amore e Vita          2.19.31
  2. Fulvio Frigo (Ita) Kross Montanari
  3. Geert Verheyen (Bel) Vlaanderen
  4. Mario Aerts (Bel) Vlaanderen
  5. Sandro Giacomelli (Ita) Amore e Vita     all s.t.

Final overall:

  1. Melchor Mauri (Spa) Once                15.44.07
  2. Pascal Lino (Fra) Big Mat-Auber           + 0.12
  3. Tony Rominger (Sch) Cofidis               + 0.17
  4. Bobby Julich (Usa)  Cofidis               + 0.23
  5. Dariusz Baranowski (Pol) US Postal        + 0.29