MIGHTY MIGUEL FADES FROM TOUR VIEW.Byline: Associated Press Associated Press: see news agency.
Associated Press (AP)
Cooperative news agency, the oldest and largest in the U.S. and long the largest in the world.
Miguel Indurain's declining chances of winning an unprecedented sixth straight Tour de France Tour de France
World's most prestigious and difficult bicycle race. Staged for three weeks each July—usually in some 20 daylong stages—the Tour typically comprises 20 professional teams of nine riders each and covers some 3,600 km (2,235 miles) of flat and was the major topic Wednesday as the 151 surviving cyclists took their only rest day in the 21-stage race.
The Spaniard isn't dominating this year's race. After 10 stages, he is in eighth place overall, 4 minutes, 38 seconds behind Danish rider Bjarne Riis Bjarne Lykkegård Riis (born April 3, 1964), nicknamed the Eagle from Herning (Danish: Ørnen fra Herning), is a Danish former professional road bicycle racer who won the 1996 Tour de France, and is now the team owner and manager of Danish UCI ProTour outfit Team , who took the lead Monday.
Considering Indurain's position, the other contenders are looking at the final 11 stages without the 31-year-old cyclist at the center of their strategy for the first time since 1991, when Indurain won his first Tour.
``Indurain is always in the race, but he has seven other riders in front of him,'' said Tony Rominger Tony Rominger (born 27 March 1961 in Vejle, Denmark) is a Swiss former professional cyclist who won major tours four times in his career—the Vuelta a España three consecutive years (1992, 1993, 1994) and Giro d'Italia once (1995). , who is in third-place, 53 seconds back.
``It's possible that one or two riders will have a bad day, but for all us to have a bad day and for him to move all the way up, it's too much.
``It's going to be more difficult for him than in other years.''
If Indurain is to become the first to win six of these cycling classics, he has his work cut out for him. Ahead of him are three other riders within one minute of Riis, whose strong Telekom team has already won three stages in this year's tour.
Russian Yevgeny Berzin is second, 40 seconds behind, but will likely have to work alone because his Gewiss team isn't very strong. Rominger is in third, with teammate Abraham Olano Abraham Olano Manzano (born on January 22, 1970 in Anoeta, Spain) is a former professional cyclist from Spain. He gained limited fame in 1995 when he became World Road Champion and in 1998 he won the World Time Trial Championship. , the world road-race champion, fourth, 56 seconds back.
The 2,418-mile Tour continues Thursday with the 125-mile stage from Gap to Valence Valence, city, France
Valence (väläNs`), city (1990 pop. 65,026), capital of Drôme dept., SE France, in Dauphiné, on the Rhône River. , and ends July 21 in Paris.
Riis said his team is working to control the race through a string of relatively easy stages this week leading up to the final climbing stages in Pyrennes July 16-17.
``Our tactics are working to perfection Adv. 1. to perfection - in every detail; "the new house suited them to a T"
just right, to a T, to the letter . We're making our rivals work, but at the moment it's going perfectly,'' said Riis. Telekom has three riders, including Riis, in the top 15.