1. Laurent Jalabert (France) ONCE 4.01.48 2. Alex Zuelle (Switzerland) ONCE s.t. 3. Mauro Gianetti (Switzerland) Polti 0.15 4. Tony Rominger (Switzerland) Mapei 0.25 5. Georg Tostching (Austria) Polti 6. Marcos Serrano (Spain) Kelme 7. Davide Rebellin (Italy) Polti all s.t. 8. Stefano Faustini (Italy) AKI 0.31 9. Laurent Dufaux (Switzerland) Lotus 0.45 10. Daniel Clavero (Spain) MX Onda 1:32 11. Fernando Escartin (Spain) Kelme 12. Axel Merckx (Belgium) Motorola both s.t. 13. Jose Maria Jimenez (Spain) Banesto 1:43 14. Andrea Peron (Italy) Motorola 2:02 15. Roberto Pistore (Italy) MG 2:39 16. Bobby Julich (USA) Motorola 17. Fabian Jeker (Switzerland) Lotus 18. Oliverio Rincon (Columbia) ONCE all s.t. 19. Vladimir Poulnikov (Ukraine) TVM 3:34 20. R.Gonzalez Arrieta (Spain) Banesto s.t. .. 22. Melchor Mauri (Spa) 3:34 .. 30. Peter Meinert (Den) 4:29 .. 31. Neil Stephens (Aus) 4:43 .. 44. Kevin Livingston (USA) 7:17 .. 47. Bo Hamburger (Den) 7:40 .. 60. Lars Johnsen (Nor) 11:58 .. 63. Maximilian Sciandri (Gbr) 12:23 .. 74. Claus Moller (Den) 18:01 .. 105. William Chann McRae (USA) 20:31 .. 128. Stephen Hodge (Aus) s.t. Retired: Miguel Indurain (Spa)
1. Zuelle 56.19.12 2. Jalabert 1:13 3. Dufaux 5:24 4. Faustini 6:26 5. Melchor Mauri (Spain) ONCE 6:51 6. Pistore 6:54 7. Rebellin 7:28 8. Tostching 8:02 9. Rominger 8:41 10. Neil Stephens (Australia) ONCE 8:46 11. Julich 9:30 12. Peron 11:13 13. Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spain) ONCE 11:21 14. Massimo Apollonio (Italy) Scrigno 12:40 15. Daniel Clavero (Spain) MX Onda 13:11 16. Vladislav Bobrik (Russia) Gewiss 13:22 17. Maarten Den Bakker (Netherlands) TVM 13:55 18. Merckx 14:40 19. Inigo Cuesta (Spain) ONCE 14:50 20. Escartin 14:53 .. 28. Peter Meinert (Den) 16:58 .. 42. Kevin Livingston (USA) 25:04 .. 49. Bo Hamburger (Den) 29:19 .. 57. Maximilian Sciandri (Gbr) 32:33 .. 78. Stephen Hodge (Aus) 49:01 79. Claus Moller (Den) 49:19 .. 113. William Chann McRae (USA) 1:10.32 .. 131. Lars Johnsen (Nor) 1:22.38
``These things happen in sport,'' said Indurain after being left behind in the mountains by Laurent Jalabert and Alex Zuelle for the second successive day.
Zuelle retained his yellow jersey after following team mate Jalabert in for a stage win in which the two ONCE riders left all their rivals trailing in their wake.
``It seems that Miguel wasn't well,'' said Jalabert, who trails Zuelle by one minute 13 seconds in the provisional overall standings.
Indurain had slowed to talk to the Banesto team doctor on several occasions after beginning to struggle 50 kms from home at the beginning of a tough mountain section.
Left adrift by the principal contenders, former team mate Herminio Diaz Zabala -- who now rides for the rival ONCE team -- tried to help Indurain. He even put his arm around the Banesto rider in a gesture of support.
But Indurain slowed to a leisurely pace and dismounted in front of his team hotel, some 30 kms from the finish line.
Indurain had made his reluctance to race the Vuelta clear after a summer in which he had failed in his bid to take an unprecented sixth successive Tour de France before bouncing back to win the time-trial gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics.
The decision to drop out has prompted further speculation that Indurain will announce his retirement from competition soon.
``It's a sad sight to see a great champion like that,'' said television commentator and former team mate Pedro Delgado after seeing Indurain struggling in the mountains.
Switzerland's Alex Zulle retained the overall leader's pink jersey, coming in second in the stage behind his teammate Jalabert.
Spaniard Indurain, five times a winner of the Tour de France, was dropped by the peloton when Switzerland's Tony Rominger attacked after 111km of the 159km stage.
Indurain, the Atlanta Olympic time-trial gold medallist, at first struggled on but decided to call it a day with 24km left to the finish after being told by his boss Jose Echavarri to retire.
"I could hardly breathe on the road. I think the cold weather during the time-trial in Avila made it worse. I have had a bad chest for the past couple of days and today's humid conditions made it worse," Indurain said.
His plight was highlighted by the fact that the backmarkers had caught him up. Although he smiled and joked with a few of his teammates, it was clear that he could not keep up with them.
Indurain had originally not been keen to race in the Tour, but he later relented, saying that his team wanted him to race.
Indurain, who has never won the Tour of Spain, denied that his unwillingness to race was a reason for his poor performance.
"I did not start with the idea of abandoning the race, but I have tried my best and it is clear that that is not enough," he said.
This failure -- allied to his disappointing 11th place in the Tour de France -- will once again raise questions about how much longer the 32-year-old Spaniard will continue to race.
It has been suggested in the Spanish press that his Banesto team have lined up his compatriot and world road race champion Abraham Olano as his replacement.
Jalabert, who abandoned during the Tour de France, was allowed by Zulle to cross the line in the lead -- to record his second successive victory in the stage known as the 'Queen of the Stages'.
The Frenchman, second overall 73 seconds behind Zulle, said he respected Zulle's gesture.
"It is clear that only Zulle or me can win the race and I do not intend to attack unless Alex suffers a reverse. One thing is for sure: that after our terrible Tour de France our ONCE team has bounced back," Jalabert said.