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Another Controversial Finish As Tour Reaches Midpoint

Thu., July 17, 1997

Jan Ullrich of Germany still wore the leader’s yellow jersey as the Tour de France reached the midpoint Wednesday.

Ullrich finished in the main pack in the 11th stage, less than a minute behind the leaders as still another controversy marred the closing sprint.

Laurent Desbiens was awarded the victory after Ukraine’s Sergei Outschakov interfered with him approaching the finish line.

Outschakov finished first but Desbiens immediately raised his hand in protest while crossing the line.

Carlo Finco of Italy was second and Outschakov was placed third. The three broke away from the main group.

It was the second time in a week that a rider’s apparent victory was taken away for an irregular sprint.

Friday, Erik Zabel of Germany was placed last after finishing first. He then won the next two stages.

There is no race today before a time trial Friday in St. Etienne.

From there, there are four days in the Alps before another time trial in Disneyland Paris on July 26 and the finish in Paris on July 27.

Desbiens’ victory came as the Tour came down to the plains after two days in the Pyrenees. The stage covered 119.3 miles from Andorra to Perpignan.

Tags: cycling

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