>News for July 17, 1997

Who knows if it is true?

An informant in the women's peloton has claimed she heard that Svetlana Samokvalova and Ita Kryanovskia of Russia both had positive drug tests at the Tour of Majorca and were canned from their teams. She also has said that the entire Sansom team (Luperini's) was subjected to a surprise hematocrit test at the Giro, with no info on the results.

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Tour News

Ullrich: - The two team leaders of the German team cleared a lot of doubts during the major stage in the Pyrenees, considered by Tour organizer, Jean Marie Leblanc, as the toughest stage of the Tour de France-97. We worked for each other admitted Bjarne Riis after the finish. "I didn't suffer as much as people are saying", he said still breathing hard from the stage. "What's more, I think that I haven't been too bad. What happens is that Ullrich has been awesome, extraordinary. I'm happy for him". Riis, who was really mad the first day with his teammates, when his teammates left him behind after one of the many crashes, admitted the superiority of his teammate and new team leader. "When he rides like he is now, we have the obligation of taking advantage of it. He did the right thing in attacking. The important thing is to win the Tour or Jan or me. There are very tough stages and the Yellow Jersey is nice", said the Dane.

The new Yellow Jersey sid about yesterday's tough stage: "it was a very long a difficult stage. The truth is that I'm very happy to have reached the first place in the general classification. It has always been a dream of mine, luckily it has become reality. At the start of the Tour, I was thinking only in Riis. But I felt really goos in Andorra and I thought: 'I have to try'. And I have taken the yellow jersey. For now I'm dressed in yellow and want to enjoy this situation. I don't want to think of the coming days which are very difficult. I want to enjoy the celebraton now", said a serene Ullrich.

Ullrich's attack came after the start of Arcalis he spoke to Riis and agreed that they would climb together. "I was supposed to pull and he would follow me. But I felt good and attacked at 10kms and thought that Riis would follow me. He didn't follow me and I didn't know what to do. Then Godefroot drove up to me and told me to keep on and not to look back".

"We either register for some German classes or we look for another sport", was what was heard amongst a group of Spanish reporters, while waiting for Olano's emergence from the team bus. And Jan Ullrich reminds us of Miguel Indurain because of his seriousness, professionalism and sobriety, his the cyclist of the future, if things don't get all twisted around. Speaks English fluently, but refuses to speak it during the few interviews that he gives. A little time ago, the news services for Team Telekom were sending bulletins about Riis & Ullrich and very few were published. Now there is a waiting list of over 50 petitions. And whenever a reporter is able to interview him, they are impressed by the briefness of his answers.

Jalabert: - Jalabert lost almost 19 minutes yesterday. ONCE's team leader was demoralized and couldn't find an explanation for his current form. "I have trained like never before, but I'm worst than ever. Something has failed and although this is not the moment to talk about it, I do know that to race a Tour like this, this will be the last time that I will take such a long mid-season break. I want to take advantage of my moments in good form, because I could have won more races in April and May. You suffer double because you train more kilometers than if you were competing and then you don't gin any form. It hasn't been like that every year, but it has been like that last year and this year. I haven't thought about abandoning, but I don't want to think what is still ahead of me to get to Paris", he bitterly complained.

Virenque - Richard Virenque is already second in the overall. Yesterday he explained that "I have a grand Ullrich ahead of me. The German has done great deeds. But I'm animated with the coming of the Alps and although I know that the Jan will have the advantage at the Saint Etienne time trial, I don't feel defeated. In the mountain stages yet to come, many things can happen. My next objective is to give up the least amount of time next Friday".

Olano - One more disappointment for Olano's fans. The Banesto rider lost time again, this time 3'45" to the new leader and the excuse of 'having a bad da' didn't fly anymore. "The truth is that since the crash at the Dauphine, I've felt without strength. Without strength from the start. What happens is that I can maintain a rhythm and that is what has allowed me to finish today with the first group. I don't understand what's happening to me, it's something strange, I have the rhythm, but I don't have the strength, that extra spark", he commented. He only hopes that with the passing days, he will feel better, but Ullrich now is but a silhouette in the horizon. "Right now it is impossible to hold his wheel, but not only for me, but also for the rest of the riders. I think that today he has started to take over the Tour and he will finish it up at the time trial in Saint Etienne. My only obsession now is to recuperate, just in case somebody else fails. Although we all know that the Tour is very long, there could be other people failing".

He again complemented the work by his teammates: "Casero, Orlando, Beltran & Blanco have helped me with the climb and descent of Envalira, but then they stayed". He didn't want to make any calculations. "What I can't do is give away or yield more time. Only if I improve will I be able to get to the podium without too much trouble. On the contrary is going to be very difficult because there is a group of six cyclists fighting for those two other places", said Abraham.

The time trial at Saint Etienne will be the next 'hot spot' of the race, although the difficult and mountainous route doesn't favor him. "I already know that it isn't ideal for me, but I can only try to recuperate and try to balance things a bit in my favor. Now I want to have the strength to be able to maneuver the race in my favor. I haven't been able to do it yet and if I have saved things a bit has been because I've been able to maintain a rhythm".

Escartin: - Escartin said that "I went through a moment of crisis in my condition, which coincided with Ullrich's attack. A couple of minutes before, I had thought about attacking, but when I saw how Ullrich was riding, I lost the desire. I'm riding like I expected, I hope not to give up too much time in the time trial, where I think Ullrich will get more than a minute on us. The climbs in the Alps are good for me and I hope to be going better".

Saiz: - ONCE's director Saiz admitted that "we were wrong in our preparation for the Tour and the team is not riding as expected. The two years were we have 'prepared' for this race, we have crashed. The riders have done everything possible and in 1998 were are going to go back to our old method of winning everything from the start. We didn't come to win stages. And we can't fight for the overall, we don't even have the will to win stages anymore".

IWT JERRY BLONDEL (1.6) Oetingen, Belgium, 25 June 1997

  1. Danny In't Ven (Bel) KW Turnhout          156 km in 3.40.00 (42,545 km/h)
  2. Marc Patry (Bel) IJsboerke-Tielen
  3. Michel Zanoli (Ned) De Jonge Renner
  4. Rudy Verdonck (Bel) Albim-Tongeren
  5. Harm Laitem (Bel) Giant-Poortland
  6. Gianni Rivera (Bel) Albim-Tongeren
  7. Peter Wuyts (Bel) KSV Deerlijk
  8. Marc Chanoine (Bel) Groeninge Spurters
  9. Martin Van Steen (Ned) De Jonge Renner
 10. Danny Van Looy (Bel) JR Booischot
 11. Davy Delme (Bel) Cureghem Sportif
 12. Gunther Stockx (Bel) Josan
 13. Marcel Gerritsen (Ned) Tegeltoko
 14. Peter Van der Velden (Ned) Agu
 15. Peter Van Santvliet (Bel) WP Kapelle-od-Bos
 16. Steven Tack (Bel) Groeninge Spurters
 17. Karel Vereecke (Bel) ASLK-Merckx Boys
 18. Patrick Chevalier (Bel) WP Kapelle-od-Bos
 19. Bram De Groot (Ned) Tegeltoko
 20. Christoph Roodhooft (Bel) Groeninge Spurters

 155 starters

DAMIAAN PIJL (1.6) Tremelo, Belgium, 29 June 1997

  1. Rudy Verdonck (Bel) Albim-Tongeren        190 km in 4.52.00 (39,041 km/h)
  2. Nico Strynckx (Bel) Groeninge Spurters
  3. Peter Van Santvliet (Bel) WP Kapelle-od-Bos
  4. Marc Patry (Bel) IJsboerke-Tielen
  5. Peter Wuyts (Bel) IJsboerke-Tielen
  6. Sven Nijs (Bel) WP Kapelle-od-Bos
  7. Gert Willocx (Bel) WC Jette
  8. Bart Everaert (Bel) WSC Merelbeke
  9. Danny Dierckx (Bel) WTC Jonge Rakkers
 10. David Derique (Fra)
 11. Davy Delme (Bel) KSV Deerlijk
 12. Didier Dreesen (Bel)
 13. Eric Torfs (Bel)
 14. Bart Bosmans (Bel)
 15. Fausto Cinti (Bel)
 16. Chris Deckers (Bel) SC Jonge Renners
 17. Ludo De Vries (Bel)
 18. Koen Heremans (Bel) KSV Deerlijk
 19. Gianni Rivera (Bel) Albim-Tongeren
 20. Kurt De Cuyper (Bel)

 161 starters