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1998 Tour de France

85th edition: July 11 - August 28, 1998

Results, stages with running GC, map, photos and history

Quick Facts about the 1998 Tour de France:

Epictetus' Golden Sayings

The Golden Saying of Epictetus are available as an audiobook here. For the Kindle eBook version, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

3,875 kilometers ridden at an average speed of 39.983 km/hr

The race started in Ireland, where the prologue and first two stages were held. Then the race transferred to Brittany for a counter-clockwise trip around France, finishing in Paris.

189 riders started, 96 finished.

The 1998 Tour was marred by the Festina doping scandal that turned into the greatest crisis in the Tour's history.

1997 winner Jan Ullrich arrived in poor form, allowing 1998 Giro winner Marco Pantani to take huge amounts of time in the mountains, in particular, stage 15 to Les Deux Alpes.

Marco Pantani is the last man to do the Giro-Tour double.

1998 Tour de France Complete Final General Classification:

  1. Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno): 92hr 49min 46sec
  2. Jan Ullrich (Telekom) @ 3min 21sec
  3. Bobby Julich (Cofidis) @ 4min 8sec
  4. Christophe Rinero (Cofidis) @ 9min 16sec
  5. Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) @ 11min 26sec
  6. Jean-Cyril Robin (US Postal) @ 14min 47sec
  7. Roland Meier (Mapei-Bricobi) @ 15min 13sec
  8. Daniele Nardello (Mapei Bricobi) @ 16min 7sec
  9. Giuseppe Di Grande (Polti) @ 17min 35sec
  10. Axel Merckx (Polti) @ 17min 39sec
  11. Bjarne Riis (Telekom) @ 19min 10sec
  12. Dariusz Baranowski (US Postal) @ 19min 58sec
  13. Stéphane Heulot (FDJ) @ 20min 57sec
  14. Leonardo Piepoli (Saeco) @ 22min 45sec
  15. Bo Hamburger (Casino) @ 26min 39sec
  16. Kurt Van Wouwer (Lotto) @ 27min 20sec
  17. Kevin Livingston (Cofidis) @ 34min 3sec
  18. Jörg Jaksche (Polti) @ 35min 41sec
  19. Peter Farazijn (Lotto) @ 36min 10sec
  20. Andreï Teteriouk (Lotto) @ 37min 3sec
  21. Udo Bolts (Telekom) @ 37min 25sec
  22. Laurent Madouas (Lotto) @ 39min 54sec
  23. Geert Verheyen (Lotto) @ 41min 23sec
  24. Cedric Vasseur (Gan) @ 42min 14sec
  25. Evgeni Berzin (FDJ) @ 42min 51sec
  26. Thierry Bourguignon (Big Mat-Auber 93) @ 43min 53sec
  27. Georg Totschnig (Telekom) @ 50min 13sec
  28. Benoit Salmon (Casino) @ 51min 18sec
  29. Alberto Elli (Casino) @ 1hr 13sec
  30. Philippe Bordenave (Big Mat-Auber 93) @ 1hr 5min 55sec
  31. Christophe Agnolutto (Casino) @ 1hr 11min 3sec
  32. Oscar Pozzi (Asics) @ 1hr 14min 54sec
  33. Maarten Den Bakker (Rabobank) @ 1hr 16min 21sec
  34. Patrick Joncker (Rabobank) @ 1hr 16min 49sec
  35. Pascal Chanteur (Casino) @ 1hr 19min 32sec
  36. Massimiliano Lelli (Cofidis) @ 1hr 20min 32sec
  37. Massimo Podenzana (Mercatone Uno) @ 1hr 20min 47sec
  38. Viatcheslav Ekimov (US Postal) @ 1hr 22min 40sec
  39. Denis Leproux (Big Mat-Auber 93) @ 1hr 25min 5sec
  40. Beat Zberg (Rabobank) @ 1hr 26min 8sec
  41. Lylian Lebreton (Big Mat-Auber) @ 1hr 28min 19sec
  42. Andrea Tafi (Mapei) @ 1hr 29min 22sec
  43. Rolf Aldag (Telekom) @ 1hr 29min 27sec
  44. Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank) @ 1hr 29min 37sec
  45. Peter Meinert (US Postal) @ 1hr 29min 52sec
  46. Riccardo Forconi (Mercatone Uno) @ 1hr 30min 33sec
  47. Fabio Sacchi (Polti) @ 1hr 31min 53sec
  48. Marty Jemison (US Postal) @ 1hr 34min 27sec
  49. Nicolas Jalabert (Cofidis) @ 1hr 38min 45sec
  50. Massimo Donati (Saeco) @ 1hr 38min 59sec
  51. Tyler Hamilton (US Postal) @ 1hr 39min 53sec
  52. Simone Borgheresi (Mercatone Uno) @ 1hr 40min 4sec
  53. George Hincapie (US Postal) @ 1hr 40min 39sec
  54. Stuart O'Grady (Gan) @ 1hr 46min 4sec
  55. Filippo Simeoni (Asics) @ 1hr 47min 19sec
  56. Jens Heppner (Telekom) @ 1hr 50min 43sec
  57. François Simon (Gan) @ 1hr 52min 41sec
  58. Frankie Andreu (US postal) @ 1hr 53min 44sec
  59. Thierry Gouvenou (Big Mat-Auber 93)) @ 1hr 55min 20sec
  60. Roberto Conti (Mercatone Uno) @ 1hr 55min 33sec
  61. Laurent Desbiens (Cofidis) @ 1hr 56min 28sec
  62. Erik Zabel (Telekom) @ 1hr 56min 57sec
  63. Leon Van Bon (Rabobank) @ 1hr 57min 30sec
  64. Paul Van Hyfte (Lotto) @ 1hr 58min 2sec
  65. Jacky Durand (Casino) @ 1hr 59min 42sec
  66. Christophe Mengin (FDJ) @ 2hr 0min 35sec
  67. Frédérick Guesdon (FDJ) @ 2hr 5min 8sec
  68. Wilfried Peeters (Mapei) @ 2hr 6min 16sec
  69. Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto) @ 2hr 6min 17sec
  70. Magnus Bäckstedt (Gan) @ 2hr 8min 30sec
  71. Eddy Mazzoleni (Saeco) @ 2hr 10min 19sec
  72. Fabio Fontanelli (Mercatone Uno) @ 2hr 11min 37sec
  73. Stefano Zanini (Mapei) @ 2hr 12min 11sec
  74. Alain Turicchia (Asics) @ 2hr 14min 12sec
  75. Mirko Crepaldi (Polti) @ 2hr 15min 5sec
  76. Diego Ferrari (Asics) @ 2hr 15min 46sec
  77. Xavier Jan (FDJ) @ 2hr 15min 51sec
  78. Pacal Lino (Big Mat-Auber 93) @ 2hr 16min 13sec
  79. Fabio Roscioli (Asics) @ 2hr 17min 53sec
  80. Christian Henn (Telekom) @ 2hr 19min 52sec
  81. Vjatjeslav Djavanian (Big Mat-Auber 93) @ 2hr 21min 31sec
  82. Rossano Brasi (Polti) @ 2hr 22min 10sec
  83. Jens Voigt (Gan) @ 2hr 25min 14sec
  84. Pascal Deramé (US Postal) @ 2hr 26min 25sec
  85. Tom Steels (Mapei) @ 2hr 26min 30sec
  86. Eros Poli (Gan) @ 2hr 31min 56sec
  87. Alecei Sivakov (Big Mat-Auber 93) @ 2hr 33min 19sec
  88. Aart Vierhouten (Rabobank) @ 2hr 35min 6sec
  89. Robbie McEwen (Rabobank) @ 2hr 36min 32sec
  90. Paolo Fornaciari (Saeco) @ 2hr 37min 50sec
  91. Massimiliano Mori (Saeco) @ 2hr 38min 12sec
  92. Bart Leysen (Mapei) @ 2hr 39min 43sec
  93. Francesco Frattini (Telekom) @ 2hr 43min 16sec
  94. Franck Bouyer (FDJ) @ 2hr 43min 45sec
  95. Mario Traversoni (Mercatone Uno) @ 2hr 44min 2sec
  96. Damien Nazon (FDJ) @ 3hr 12min 15sec

Points Competition:

  1. Erik Zabel (Telekom): 327 points
  2. Stuart O'Grady (Gan): 230
  3. Tom Steels (Mapei-Bricobi): 221
  4. Robbie McEwen (Rabobank): 196
  5. George Hincapie (US postal): 151
  6. François Simon (Gan): 149
  7. Bobby Julich (Cofidis): 114
  8. Jacky Durand (Casino): 111
  9. Alain Turicchia (Asics): 99
  10. Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno): 90

Climbers' Competition:

  1. Christophe Rinero (Cofidis): 200 points
  2. Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno): 175
  3. Alberto Elli (Casino): 165
  4. Cédric Vasseur (Gan): 156
  5. Stéphane Heulot (FDJ): 152
  6. Jan Ullrich (Telekom): 126
  7. Bobby Julich (Cofidis): 98
  8. Michael Boogerd (Rabobank): 92
  9. Leonardo Piepoli (Saeco): 90
  10. Roland Meier (Cofidis): 89

Team Classification:

  1. Cofidis: 278hr 29min 58sec
  2. Casino @ 29min 9sec
  3. US Postal @ 41min 40sec
  4. Telekom @ 46min 1sec
  5. Lotto @ 1hr 4min 14sec
  6. Polti @ 1hr 6min 32sec
  7. Rabobank @ 1hr 46min 20sec
  8. Mapei @ 1hr 59min 53sec
  9. Big Mat-Auber 93 @ 2hr 3min 32sec
  10. Mercatone Uno @ 2hr 23min 4sec

Young Rider:

  1. Jan Ullrich (Telekom) 92hr 53min 7sec
  2. Christophe Rinero (Cofidis) @ 5min 55sec
  3. Giuseppe Di Grande (Mapei) @ 14min 14sec
  4. Kevin Levingston (Cofidis) @ 30min 42sec
  5. Jörg Jaksche (Polti) @ 32min 20sec

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Individual stage results with running GC:

TDF volume 1

Prologue: Saturday, July 11, Dublin, Ireland 5.6 km Individual Time Trial

  1. Chris Boardman: 6min 12sec
  2. Abraham Olano @ 4sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 5sec
  4. Bobby Julich s.t.
  5. Christophe Moreau s.t.
  6. Jan Ullrich s.t.
  7. Alex Zulle @ 7sec
  8. Laurent Dufaux @ 9sec
  9. Andrei Tchmil @ 10sec
  10. Viatcheslav Ekimov @ 11sec

GC: Same as Prologue time, there was no time bonus in play in the prologue.

Stage 1: Sunday, July 12, Dublin, Ireland - Dublin, Ireland, 180.5 km.

  1. Tom Steels: 4hr 29min 58sec
  2. Erik Zabel s.t.
  3. Robbie McEwen s.t.
  4. Gian-Matteo Fagnini s.t.
  5. Nicola Minali s.t.
  6. Frederic Moncassin s.t.
  7. Philippe Gaumont s.t.
  8. Mario Traversoni s.t.
  9. François Simon s.t.
  10. Jan Svorada s.t.

GC after Stage 1:

  1. Chris Boardman
  2. Abraham Olano @ 4sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 5sec
  4. Bobby Julich s.t.
  5. Christophe Moreau s.t.
  6. Christophe Moreau s.t.
  7. Jan Ullrich s.t.
  8. Erik Zabel @ 7sec
  9. Tom Steels @ 9sec
  10. Laurent Dufaux s.t.

Stage 2: Monday, July 13, Enniscorthy, Ireland - Cork, Ireland, 205.5 km.

  1. Jan Svorada: 5hr 45min 10sec
  2. Robbie McEwen s.t.
  3. Mario Cipollini s.t.
  4. Alain Turicchia s.t.
  5. Tom Steels s.t.
  6. Emmanuel Magnien s.t.
  7. Jan Kirsipuu s.t.
  8. Nicola Minali s.t.
  9. Jeroen Blijlevens s.t.
  10. Silvio Martinello s.t.

GC after Stage 2:

  1. Erik Zabel
  2. Tom Steels @ 7sec
  3. Frederic Moncassin s.t.
  4. Abraham Olano @ 8sec
  5. Laurent Jalabert @ 9sec
  6. Bobby Julich s.t.
  7. Christophe Moreau s.t.
  8. Jan Ullrich s.t.
  9. Jan Svorada @ 10sec
  10. Robbie McEwen @ 11sec

Stage 3: Tuesday, July 14, The Tour returns to France. Roscoff - Lorient, 169 km.

  1. Jens Heppner: 3hr 33min 36sec
  2. Xavier Jan s.t.
  3. George Hincapie @ 2sec
  4. Bo Hamburger s.t.
  5. Stuart O'Grady s.t.
  6. Vicente Garcia-Acosta s.t.
  7. Pascal Hervé s.t.
  8. Francisco Cabello s.t.
  9. Pascal Chanteur @ 5sec
  10. Fabrizio Guidi @ 1min 10sec

GC after Stage 3:

  1. Bo Hamburger
  2. George Hincapie @ 2sec
  3. Stuart O'Grady @ 3sec
  4. Jens Heppner s.t.
  5. Xavier Jan @ 21sec
  6. Pascal Hervé @ 22sec
  7. Vicente Garcia-Acosta @ 23sec
  8. Pascal Chanteur @ 28sec
  9. Francisco Cabello @ 47sec
  10. Erik Zabel @ 1min 2sec

Stage 4: Wednesday, July 15, Plouay - Cholet, 252 km.

  1. Jeroen Blijlevens: 5hr 48min 32sec
  2. Nicola Minali s.t.
  3. Jan Svorada s.t.
  4. Frederic Moncassin s.t.
  5. Andrei Tchmil s.t.
  6. Erik Zabel s.t.
  7. Tom Steels s.t.
  8. Lars Michaelsen s.t.
  9. Maximilian Sciandri s.t.
  10. Fabio Baldato s.t.

GC after stage 4:

  1. Stuart O'Grady
  2. Bo Hampburger @ 11sec
  3. George Hincapie s.t.
  4. Jens Heppner @ 14sec
  5. Xavier Jan @ 32sec
  6. Pascal Hervé @ 33sec
  7. Vicente Garcia-Acosta @ 34sec
  8. Pascal Chanteur @ 39sec
  9. Francisco Cabello @ 58sec
  10. Erik Zabel @ 1min 1sec

Stage 5: Thursday, July 16, Cholet - Châteauroux, 228.5 km.

  1. Mario Cipollini: 5hr 18min 49sec
  2. Erik Zabel s.t.
  3. Christophe Mengin s.t.
  4. Andrea Farrigato s.t.
  5. Philippe Gaumont s.t.
  6. Robbie McEwen s.t.
  7. George Hincapie s.t.
  8. Fabrizio Guidi s.t.
  9. Frederic Moncassin s.t.
  10. Alessio Bongioni s.t.

GC after Stage 5:

  1. Stuart O'Grady
  2. George Hincapie @ 7sec
  3. Bo Hamburger @ 11sec
  4. Jens Heppner @ 14sec
  5. Xavier Jan @ 32sec
  6. Pacal Hervé @ 33sec
  7. Vicente Garcia-Acosta @ 34sec
  8. Pascal Chanteur @ 39sec
  9. Erik Zabel @ 45sec
  10. Francisco Cabello @ 58sec

Stage 6: Friday, July 17, Le Châtre - Brive la Gaillarde, 204.5 km.

  1. Mario Cipollini: 5hr 5min 32sec
  2. Nicola Minali s.t.
  3. Jan Svorada s.t.
  4. Frederic Moncassin s.t.
  5. Erik Zabel s.t.
  6. Tom Steels s.t.
  7. Mario Traversoni s.t.
  8. Jeroen Blijlevens s.t.
  9. Emmanuele Magnien s.t.
  10. George Hincapie s.t.

GC after Stage 6:

  1. Stuart O'Grady
  2. George Hincapie @ 9sec
  3. Bo Hamburger @ 13sec
  4. Jens Heppner @ 16sec
  5. Xavier Jan @ 34sec
  6. Pascal Hervé @ 35sec
  7. Vicente Garcia-Acosta @ 36sec
  8. Pascal Chanteur @ 41sec
  9. Erik Zabel @ 43sec
  10. Jan Svorada @ 47sec

Stage 7: Saturday, July 18, Meyrignac l'Église- Corrèze 58 km Individual Time Trial.

The Festina team was forced to withdraw from the Tour before the start of the time trial.

  1. Jan Ullrich: 1hr 15min 25sec
  2. Tyler Hamilton @ 1min 10sec
  3. Bobby Julich @ 1min 18sec
  4. Laurent Jalabert @ 1min 24sec
  5. Viatcheslav Ekimov @ 1min 40sec
  6. Abraham Olano @ 2min 13sec
  7. Evgeni Berzin @ 2min 21sec
  8. Francesco Casagrande @ 2min 22sec
  9. Stephane Heulot @ 2min 22sec
  10. Bo Hamburger @ 2min 29sec

GC after Stage 7:

  1. Jan Ullrich: 31hr 24min 37sec
  2. Bo Hamburger @ 1min 18sec
  3. Bobby Julich s.t.
  4. Laurent Jalabert @ 1min 14sec
  5. Tyler Hamilton @ 1min 30sec
  6. Viatcheslav Ekimov @ 1min 46sec
  7. Vicente Garcia-Acosta @ 1min 50sec
  8. Stuart O'Grady @ 1min 53sec
  9. Abraham Olano @ 2min 12sec
  10. Jens Heppner @ 2min 17sec

Stage 8: Sunday, July 19, Brive la Gaillarde - Montauban, 190.5 km.

  1. Jacky Durand: 4hr 40min 55sec
  2. Andrea Tafi s.t.
  3. Fabio Sacchi s.t.
  4. Eddy Mazzoleni s.t.
  5. Laurent Desbiens s.t.
  6. Joona Laukka s.t.
  7. Philippe Gaumont @ 1min 34sec
  8. Erik Zabel @ 7min 45sec
  9. Serguei Ivanov s.t.
  10. Jan Svorada s.t.

GC after Stage 8:

  1. Laurent Desbiens
  2. Andrea Tafi @ 14sec
  3. Jacky Durand @ 43sec
  4. Joona Laukka @ 2min 54sec
  5. Jan Ullrich @ 3min 21sec
  6. Bo Hamburger @ 4min 39sec
  7. Bobby Julich s.t.
  8. Laurent Jalabert @ 4min 45sec
  9. Tyler Hamilton @ 4min 51sec
  10. Viatcheslav Ekimov @ 5min 7sec

Stage 9: Monday, July 20, Montauban - Pau, 210 km.

  1. Leon Van Bon: 5hr 21min 10sec
  2. Jens Voigt s.t.
  3. Masimilliano Lelli s.t.
  4. Christophe Agnolutto s.t.
  5. Erik Zabel @ 12sec
  6. Robbie McEwen s.t.
  7. Tom Steels s.t.
  8. Mario Traversoni s.t.
  9. François Simon s.t.
  10. Lars Michaelsen s.t.

GC after stage 9:

  1. Laurent Desbiens: 41hr 31min 18sec
  2. Andrea Tafi @ 14sec
  3. Jacky Durand @ 43sec
  4. Joona Laukka @ 2min 54sec
  5. Jan Ullrich @ 3min 21sec
  6. Bo Hamburger @ 4min 39sec
  7. Bobby Julich s.t.
  8. Laurent Jalabert @ 4min 45sec
  9. Viatcheslav Ekimov @ 5min 7sec
  10. Vicente Garcia-Acosta @ 5min 11sec

Stage 10: Tuesday, July 21, Pau - Luchon, 196.5 km.

Major Climbs: Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin, Peyresourde.

  1. Rudolfo Massi: 5hr 49min 40sec
  2. Marco Pantani @ 36sec
  3. Michael Boogerd @ 59sec
  4. Bobby Julich s.t.
  5. Giuseppe Di Grande s.t.
  6. Jose-Maria Jimenez s.t.
  7. Fernando Escartin s.t.
  8. Jan Ullrich s.t.
  9. Jean-Cyril Robin s.t.
  10. Leonardo Piepoli s.t.

GC after Stage 10:

  1. Jan Ullrich: 47hr 25min 18sec
  2. Bobby Julich @ 1min 18sec
  3. Bo Hamburger @ 2min 17sec
  4. Laurent Jalabert @ 2min 38sec
  5. Luc Leblanc @ 3min 3sec
  6. Abraham Olano @ 3min 11sec
  7. Michael Boogerd @ 3min 36sec
  8. Evgeni Berzin @ 3min 39sec
  9. Stephane Heulot @ 3min 40sec
  10. Bjarne Riis @ 3min 51sec
  11. Marco Pantani @ 4min 41sec

Stage 11: Wednesday, July 22, Luchon - Plateau de Beille, 170 km.

Major Climbs: Mente, Portet d'Aspet, Core, Port, Plateau de Beille

  1. Marco Pantani: 5hr 15min 27sec
  2. Roland Meier @ 1min 26sec
  3. Bobby Julich @ 1min 33sec
  4. Michael Boogerd s.t.
  5. Leonardo Piepoli s.t.
  6. Fernando Escartin s.t.
  7. Christophe Rinero s.t.
  8. Jan Ullrich @ 1min 40sec
  9. Kevin Livingston @ 2min 1sec
  10. Angel Casero @ 2min 3sec

GC after Stage 11:

  1. Jan Ullrich: 52hr 42min 25sec
  2. Bobby Julich @ 1min 11sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 3min 1sec
  4. Marco Pantani s.t.
  5. Michael Boogerd @ 3min 29sec
  6. Luc Leblanc @ 4min 16sec
  7. Bo Hamburger @ 4min 44sec
  8. Fernando Escartin @ 5min 16sec
  9. Roland Meier @ 5min 18sec
  10. Angel Casero @ 5min 53sec

Stage 12: Friday, July 24, Tarascon sur Ariège - Le Cap d'Agde, 222 km.

  1. Tom Steels: 4hr 12min 51sec
  2. François Simon s.t.
  3. Stephane Barthe s.t.
  4. Nicola Minali s.t.
  5. Erik Zabel s.t.
  6. Stuart O'Grady s.t.
  7. Andrea Ferrigato s.t.
  8. Aert Vierhouten s.t.
  9. Leonardo Guidi s.t.
  10. George Hincapie s.t.

GC after Stage 12:

  1. Jan Ullrich: 56hr 55min 16sec
  2. Bobby Julich @ 1min 11sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 3min 1sec
  4. Marco Pantani s.t.
  5. Michael Boogerd @ 3min 29sec
  6. Luc Leblanc @ 4min 16sec
  7. Bo Hamburger @ 4min 44sec
  8. Fernando Escartin @ 5min 16sec
  9. Roland Meier @ 5min 18sec
  10. Angel Casero @ 5min 53sec

Stage 13: Saturday, July 25, Frontignan la Peyrade - Carpentras, 196 km.

  1. Daniele Nardello: 4hr 32min 46sec
  2. Vicente Garcia-Acosta s.t.
  3. Andrea Tafi s.t.
  4. Stephane Heulot s.t.
  5. Marty Jamison s.t.
  6. Koos Moerenhout s.t.
  7. Serguei Ivanov @ 2min 27sec
  8. Fabio Roscioli @ 2min 43sec
  9. François Simon
  10. Maarten Den Bakker s.t.

GC after Stage 13:

  1. Jan Ullrich: 61hr 30min 53sec
  2. Bobby Julich @ 1min 11sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 3min 1sec
  4. Marco Pantani s.t.
  5. Michael Boogerd @ 3min 29sec
  6. Luc Leblanc @ 4min 16sec
  7. Bo Hamburger @ 4min 44sec
  8. Stephane Heulot @ 5min 5sec
  9. Fernando Escartin @ 5min 16sec
  10. Roland Meier @ 5min 18sec

Stage 14: Sunday, July 26, Valréas - Grenoble, 186.5 km.

  1. Stuart O'Grady: 4hr 30min 53sec
  2. Orlando Rodriguez s.t.
  3. Leon Van Bon s.t.
  4. Peter Meinert s.t.
  5. Laurent Desbiens s.t.
  6. Giuseppe Calcaterra s.t. (Crossed the line 2nd, but relegated for not holding his line in the sprint.
  7. Frederic Guesdon @ 8min 27sec
  8. Rafael Diaz Justo s.t.
  9. Erik Zabel @ 10min 5sec
  10. Jan Svorada s.t.

GC after Stage 14:

  1. Jan Ullrich: 66hr 11min 51sec
  2. Bobby Julich @ 1min 11sec
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 3min 1sec
  4. Marco Pantani s.t.
  5. Michael Boogerd @ 3min 29sec
  6. Luc Leblanc @ 4min 16sec
  7. Bo Hamburger @ 4min 44sec
  8. Stephane Heulot @ 5min 5sec
  9. Fernando Escartin @ 5min 16sec
  10. Roland Meier @ 5min 18sec

Stage 15: Monday, July 27, Grenoble - Les Deux Alpes, 189 km.

Major climbs: Croix de Fer, Telegraphe, Galibier, Les Deux Alpes.

  1. Marco Pantani: 5hr 43min 45sec
  2. Rudolfo Massi @ 1min 54sec
  3. Fernando Escartin @ 1min 59sec
  4. Christophe Rinero @ 2min 57sec
  5. Bobby Julich @ 5min 43sec
  6. Michael Boogerd @ 5min 48sec
  7. Marcos Serrano @ 6min 4sec
  8. Jean-Cyril Robin @ 6min 34sec
  9. Manuel Beltran @ 6min 40sec
  10. Dariusz Baranowski s.t.

25. Jan Ullrich @ 8min 57sec

GC after Stage 15:

  1. Marco Pantani: 71hr 58min 37sec
  2. Bobby Julich @ 3min 53sec
  3. Fernando Escartin @ 4min 14sec
  4. Jan Ullrich @ 5min 56sec
  5. Christophe Rinero @ 6min 12sec
  6. Michael Boogerd @ 6min 16sec
  7. Rodolfo Massi @ 7min 53sec
  8. Luc Leblanc @ 8min 1sec
  9. Roland Meier @ 8min 57sec
  10. Daniele Nardello @ 9min 14sec

Stage 16: Tuesday, July 28, Vizille - Albertville, 204 km.

Major climbs: Porte, Cucheron, Granier, Grand Cucheron, La Madeleine.

  1. Jan Ullrich: 5hr 39min 47sec
  2. Marco Pantani s.t.
  3. Bobby Julich @ 1min 49sec
  4. Fernando Escartin s.t.
  5. Axel Merckx s.t.
  6. Michael Boogerd s.t.
  7. Bjarne Riis s.t.
  8. Leonardo Piepoli s.t.
  9. Stephane Heulot s.t.
  10. Jean-Cyril Robin s.t.

GC after Stage 16:

  1. Marco Pantani: 77hr 38min 24sec
  2. Bobby Julich @ 5min 42sec
  3. Jan Ullrich @ 5min 56sec
  4. Fernando Escartin @ 6min 3sec
  5. Christophe Rinero @ 8min 1sec
  6. Michael Boogerd @ 8min 5sec
  7. Rodolfo Massi @ 12min 15sec
  8. Jean-Cyril Robin @ 12min 34sec
  9. Leonardo Piepoli @ 12min 45sec
  10. Roland Meier @ 13min 19sec

Stage 17: Wednesday, July 29, Aix-les Bains - Vasseur, 149 km.

After a riders' strike in which they completed the course slowly, without their backnumbers, the stage was annulled. Teams ONCE, Riso Scotti and Banesto abandoned the race.

Stage 18: Thursday, July 30, Aix les Bains - Neuchatel (Switzerland), 218.5 km.

Major ascent: Faucille

  1. Tom Steels: 4hr 53min 27sec
  2. Erik Zabel s.t.
  3. Stuart O'Grady s.t.
  4. Robbie McEwen s.t.
  5. Jacky Durand s.t.
  6. Leon Van Bon s.t.
  7. François Simon s.t.
  8. Nicolas Jalabert s.t.
  9. Aert Vierhouoten s.t.
  10. Viatcheslav Djavanian s.t.

GC after Stage 18:

  1. Marco Pantani: 82hr 31min 51sec
  2. Bobby Julich @ 5min 42sec
  3. Jan Ullrich @ 5min 56sec
  4. Christophe Rinero @ 8min 1sec
  5. Michael Boogerd @ 8min 5sec
  6. Jean-Cyril Robin @ 12min 34sec
  7. Roland Meier @ 13min 19sec
  8. Daniele Nardello @ 13min 36sec
  9. Bjarne Riis @ 14min 45sec
  10. Giuseppe Di Grande @ 15min 13sec

Stage 19: Friday, July 31, La Chaux de Fonds (Switzerland) - Autun, 242 km.

Team TVM abandoned.

  1. Magnus Backstedt: 5hr 10min 14sec
  2. Maarten De Bakker s.t.
  3. Eddy Mazzoleni s.t.
  4. Pascal Derame s.t.
  5. Frederic Guesdon @ 25sec
  6. Fabio Sacchi s.t.
  7. Jacky Durand s.t.
  8. Alain Turicchia s.t.
  9. Stuart O'Grady s.t.
  10. Thierry Gouvenou s.t.

GC after Stage 19:

  1. Marco Pantani: 87hr 58min 43sec
  2. Bobby Julich @ 5min 42sec
  3. Jan Ullrich @ 5min 56sec
  4. Christophe Rinero @ 8min 1sec
  5. Michael Boogerd @ 8min 5sec
  6. Jean-Cyril Robin @ 12min 34sec
  7. Roland Meier @ 13min 19sec
  8. Daniele Nardello @ 13min 36sec
  9. Bjarne Riis @ 14min 45sec
  10. Giuseppe Di Grande @ 15min 13sec

Stage 20: Saturday, August 1, Montceau les Mines - Le Creusot 52 km individual time trial.

  1. Jan Ullrich: 1hr 3min 52sec
  2. Bobby Julich @ 1min 1sec
  3. Marco Pantani @ 2min 35sec
  4. Dariusz Baranowski @ 3min 11sec
  5. Andrei Teteriouk @ 3min 46sec
  6. Viatcheslav Ekimov @ 3min 48sec
  7. Christophe Rinero @ 3min 50sec
  8. Riccardo Forconi @ 3min 55sec
  9. Axel Merckx @ 3min 59sec
  10. Roland Meier @ 4min 29sec

GC after Stage 20:

  1. Marco Pantani: 89hr 5min 10sec
  2. Jan Ullrich @ 3min 21sec
  3. Bobby Julich @ 4min 8sec
  4. Christophe Rinero @ 9min 16sec
  5. Michael Boogerd @ 11min 26sec
  6. Jean-Cyril Robin @ 14min 57sec
  7. Roland Meier @ 15min 13sec
  8. Danielo Nardello @ 16min 7sec
  9. Giuseppe Di Grande @ 15min 35sec
  10. Axel Merckx @ 17min 39sec

21st and Final Stage: Sunday, August 2, Melun - Paris (Champs Elysées), 147.5 km.

  1. Tom Steels: 3hr 44min 36sec
  2. Stefano Zanini s.t.
  3. Stuart O'Grady s.t.
  4. George Hincapie s.t.
  5. Erik Zabel s.t.
  6. Robbie McEwen s.t.
  7. Mario Taversoni s.t.
  8. François Simon s.t.
  9. Damien Nazon s.t.
  10. Alain Turicchia s.t.

Complete Final 1998 Tour de France General Classification.

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The Story of the 1998 Tour de France:

These excerpts are from "The Story of the Tour de France", Volume 2. If you enjoy them we hope you will consider purchasing the book, either print, eBook or audiobook. The Amazon link here will make the purchase easy.

Always looking to make the Tour interesting as well as profitable for its owners, the 1998 edition started in Dublin, Ireland. The prologue and the first 2 stages were to be held on the Emerald Isle. Then, without a rest day, the riders were to be transferred to Roscoff on the northern coast of Brittany. Then the Tour headed inland for a couple of stages before turning directly south for the Pyrenees, then the Alps and then Paris. This wasn't a race loaded with hilltop finishes but it did have 115.6 kilometers of individual time trial including 52 in the penultimate stage. This should have been a piece of cake for Ullrich. He not only won the Tour de France in 1997, he won the HEW Cyclassics and the Championship of Zurich.

Ullrich was a well-rounded rider who could do anything and who truly deserved his Number 2 world ranking. But the demands of his fame were more than he could handle. His autobiography Ganz oder Ganz Nicht (All or Nothing at All) is disarmingly frank and honest about his troubles. After the 1997 Tour he signed contracts for endorsements that gave him staggering sums of money. He would never have to worry about a paycheck again. Over the winter his weight had ballooned and his form was suspect. In his words, he had begun 1998 with a new personal best, he weighed more than he had ever weighed in his entire life. In the post-Tour celebrations, he let himself go. He said that after winning the Tour, training was the furthest thing from his mind. He then fell into a vicious cycle. He couldn't find good form and good health. He would lie in bed frustrated, and shovel down chocolate. He would then go out and train too hard for his lapsed form and then get sick again.

He rationalized things. "I can't just train all year long. My life consists of more than cycling," he told himself. Meanwhile, his trainer Peter Becker ground his teeth in frustration seeing his prodigiously talented client riding fewer than 50 kilometers a day.

The results of his winter excess were obvious. He attained no notable successes in the spring, but in the new era of Tour specialization this wasn't necessarily a sign that things were going wrong. Yet in Ullrich's case there were few signs that things were going right. In March he pulled out of the Tirreno–Adriatico only 30 kilometers into the first stage.

Ullrich had a new foe in the 1998 Tour. Marco Pantani had been a Charly Gaul-type racer who would detonate on a climb and bring himself to a high placing in a single stage. In May he proved that he could do more than just climb when he won the Giro d'Italia. The signal that Pantani was riding on a new level was the penultimate stage, a 34-kilometer time trial. He lost only 30 seconds to one of the masters of the discipline, Sergey Gonchar. As we noted in 1997, Pantani had suffered a horrific racing accident in 1995 that shattered his femur. He became determined to return to his former high level and through assiduous training he exceeded his former level. There was a telling flag that wasn't made known until later. Technologists checking Pantani's blood after the accident in Turin found that his hematocrit was over 60 percent.

Hematocrit is the measurement of the percentage of blood volume that is occupied by red blood cells, the tools the body uses to feed oxygen to the muscles. Normal men of European descent have a hematocrit in the low to mid 40s. It declines slightly as a response to the effects of training. It would not be expected to increase during a stage race, as some racers have asserted. Exceptional people may exceed that by a significant amount. Damiano Cunego, winner of the 2004 Giro, through a fortunate twist of genetic fate has a natural hematocrit of about 53. To improve sports performances endurance athletes took to using synthetic EPO or erythropoietin, a drug that raises the user's hematocrit. This is not without danger because as the hematocrit rises, so does the blood's viscosity. By the late 1990s athletes were dying in their sleep as their lower sleeping heart rates couldn't shove the red sludge through their blood vessels. Until 2004 there was no way to test for EPO so the only thing limiting how much EPO an athlete would use was his willingness to tempt death. A friend of mine traveled with a famous Spanish professional racing team in the 1990s and was horrified to see the riders sleeping with heart monitors hooked up to alarms. If the athlete's sleeping heart rate should fall below a certain number, he was awakened, given a saline injection, and put on a trainer. In January of 1997 the UCI implemented the 50% rule. If a rider were found to have a hematocrit exceeding 50% he would be suspended for 2 weeks. Since there was no test at the time to determine if a rider had synthetic EPO in his system, the 2-week suspension wasn't considered a positive for dope, only a suspension so that the rider could "regain his health". There were ways for cagey riders to get around the 50% limit, but that story is for 1999.

So let's get one thing straight and understood. Doping was and is part of the sport. As we proceed through the sordid story of 1998, the actions of the riders to protect themselves and their doping speak for themselves. Without a positive test no single rider may be accused but as a group they are guilty. As individuals, unless proven otherwise, the riders are all innocent. As Miguel Indurain asked after he was accused of doping long after he had retired, "How do I prove my innocence?" He's right. It's almost impossible to prove a negative, that is, that a rider didn't do something.

Yet, complicating matters is that a rational, knowledgeable person knows that just because a rider has never tested positive for dope doesn't mean that he has been riding clean. Many riders who never failed a drug test have later been found to be cheaters, as in the case of World Time Trial Champion David Millar. But again, we must be fair. In the absence of a positive test in which the chain of custody of the samples is guaranteed and a fair appeals process is in place to protect the rider's interests, I grit my teeth and consider a rider innocent.

The prologue for the 1998 Tour was on July 11 but the story of the Tour starts in March when a car belonging to the Dutch team TVM was found to have a large cache of drugs. Fast forward to July 8. Team Festina soigneur Willy Voet was searched at a customs stop as he was on his way from Belgium to Calais and then on to the Tour's start in Dublin. What the customs people found in his car set the cycling world on fire. Among the items Voet was transporting were 234 doses of EPO, testosterone, amphetamines and other drugs that could only have one purpose, to improve the performance of the riders on the Festina team. For now we'll leave Voet in the hands of the police who took him to Lille for further searching and questioning.

In Dublin Chris Boardman won the 5.6-kilometer prologue with a scorching speed of 54.2 kilometers an hour. Ullrich momentarily silenced his critics when he came in sixth, only 5 seconds slower. Tour Boss Jean-Marie Leblanc said that the Voet problem didn't concern him or the Tour and that the authorities would sort things out. Bruno Roussel, the director of the Festina team expressed surprise over Voet's arrest.

The first stage was run under wet and windy conditions with Tom Steels, who had been tossed from the previous year's Tour for throwing a water bottle at another rider, winning the sprint. But the cold rain didn't cool down the Festina scandal. Police raided the team warehouse and found more drugs, including bottles labeled with specific rider's names. Roussel expressed yet more mystification at the events and said he would hire a lawyer to deal with all of the defamatory things that had been written about the team. The next day Erik Zabel was able to win the Yellow Jersey by accruing intermediate sprint time bonifications.

When the Tour returned to France on July 14 the minor news was that Casino rider Bo Hamburger was the new Tour leader. The big news was that Voet had started to really talk to the police and told them that he was acting on instructions from Festina team management. Roussel said he was "shocked". The next day things got still worse for Festina. Roussel and team doctor Eric Rijckaert were taken by the police for questioning. Leblanc continued to insist that the Tour was not involved with the messy Festina doings and if no offenses had occurred during the Tour, there would be no action taken to expel Festina.

While the race continued on its way to the Pyrenees with Stuart O'Grady now the leader, the first Australian in Yellow since Phil Anderson and the second ever, the Festina affair continued to draw all of the attention. The world governing body of cycling, the U.C.I., suspended Roussel. Both the Andorra-based Festina watch company and Leblanc continued to voice support for the team's continued presence in the race.

Stage 6, on July 15, turned the entire cycling world upside-down. Roussel admitted that the Festina team had systematized its doping. The excuse was that since the riders were doping themselves, often with terribly dangerous substances like perfluorocarbon (synthetic hemoglobin), it was safer to have the doping performed under the supervision of the team's staff. Leblanc reacted by expelling the team from the Tour. Then several Festina riders including Richard Virenque and Laurent Dufaux called a news conference, asserted their innocence and vowed to continue riding in the Tour.

There was still a race going on amid all of the Festina doings and the first real sorting came with the 58-kilometer time trial of stage 7. Ullrich again showed that against the clock he is an astounding rider. American Tyler Hamilton came in second and was only able to come within 1 minute, 10 seconds of the speedy German. Another American rider, Bobby Julich of the Cofidis team turned in a surprising third place, only 8 seconds slower than Hamilton. So now the General Classification with 2 more stages to go before the mountains:

  1. Jan Ullrich
  2. Bo Hamburger @ 1 minute 18 seconds
  3. Bobby Julich @ same time
  4. Laurent Jalabert @ 1 minute 24 seconds
  5. Tyler Hamilton @ 1 minute 30 seconds

Virenque announced that the Festina riders would not try to ride the Tour after their expulsion. That took Alex Zülle, World Champion Laurent Brochard, Laurent Dufaux and Christophe Moreau, among others, out of the action. The reaction from the Tour management, the team doctors and the fans was indicative of the blinders all parties were wearing. The Tour subjected 55 riders to blood tests and found no one with banned substances in his system. The Tour then declared that this meant that the doping was confined to a few bad apples. What it really meant was that for decades the riders and their doctors had learned how to dope so the drugs didn't show up in the tests. And, in 1998 there was no test for EPO. The team doctors protested that the Festina affair was bringing disrepute upon the other teams and their profession. The fans hated to see their beloved riders singled out and thought that Festina was getting unfair treatment. Officials, reflecting upon the easy ride TVM had received in March when their drug-laden car was found, reopened that case.

Stage 10, the long anticipated showdown between Ullrich and Pantani, had finally arrived. It was a Pyrenean stage, going from Pau to Luchon with the Aubisque, the Tourmalet, the Aspin and the Peyresourde. With no new developments in the drug scandals, the attention could finally be focused on the sport of bicycle racing. It was cold and wet in the mountains, which saps the energy of the riders as much as or more than a hot day. It was on the Peyresourde that the action finally started. Casino rider Rudolfo Massi was already off the front. Ullrich got itchy feet and attacked the dozen or so riders still with him. Pantani responded with his own attack and was gone. Pantani closed to within 36 seconds of Massi after extending his lead on the descent of the Peyresourde. Ullrich and 9 others including Julich came in a half-minute after Pantani. After losing the lead in stage 8 when a break of non-contenders was allowed to go, Ullrich was back in Yellow. Pantani was sitting in eleventh place, 4 minutes, 41 second back.

Stage 11, July 22, had 5 climbs rated second category or better with a hilltop finish at Plateau de Beille, an hors category climb new to the Tour. As usual, the best riders held their fire until the final climb. Ullrich flatted just before the road began to bite but was able to rejoin the leaders before things broke up. And break up they did when Pantani took off and no one could hold his wheel. Ullrich was left to chase with little help as he worked to limit his loss. At the top Pantani was first with the Ullrich group a minute and a half back. While Pantani said he was too tired from the Giro to consider winning the Tour, he was slowly closing the gap.

Stage 11: Pantani wins at Plateau de Beille.

After the Pyrenees and with a rest day next, the General Classification stood thus:

  1. Jan Ullrich
  2. Bobby Julich @ 1 minute 11 seconds
  3. Laurent Jalabert @ 3 minutes 1 second
  4. Marco Pantani @ same time

Festina director Roussel, still in custody, issued a public statement accepting responsibility for the systematic doping within the team.

On July 24, the day of stage 12, the heat in the doping scandal was raised a bit more, if that were possible. Three more Festina team officials including the 2 assistant directors were arrested. A Belgian judge performing a parallel investigation found computer records of the Festina doping program on Erik Rijckaert's computer. Rijckaert said that the Festina riders all contributed to a fund to purchase drugs for the team. Six Festina riders were rounded up and questioned by the Lyon police: Zülle, Dufaux, Brochard, Virenque, Pascal Herve and Didier Rous. The scandal grew larger. TVM manager Cees Priem, the TVM team doctor and mechanic were arrested. A French TV reporter said that he had found dope paraphernalia in the hotel room of the Asics team.

So how did the riders handle this growing stink? Much as they did when they were caught up in the Wiel's affair in 1962. They became indignant. They were furious that the Festina riders had been forced to strip in the French jail and fuming that so much attention was focused on the ever-widening doping scandal instead of the race. In 1962 Jean Bobet talked the riders out of making themselves ridiculous by striking over being caught red-handed. There was no such voice of sanity in 1998. The riders initiated a slow-down, refusing to race for the first 16 kilometers.

On July 25 several Festina riders confessed to using EPO, including Armin Meier, Laurent Brochard and Christophe Moreau. The extent of the concern over the drug scandal was made clear when the French newspaper Le Monde editorialized that the 1998 Tour should be cancelled. It's important to note that what should have been outrage from the riders of the peloton, when confronted with the undeniable fact that they were racing against cheaters, was never voiced. Instead, the peloton defended the cheaters. When pro racers start screaming that they were robbed by the dopers then we may start to think that there has been some reform in the peloton. Until then, the pack is guilty.

As the Tour moved haltingly towards the Alps the top echelons of the General Classification remained unchanged. Alex Zülle issued a statement of regret admitting his use of EPO, saying what any rational observer should have assumed, that Festina was not the only team doping.

On Monday, July 27 the Tour reached the hard alpine stages. Stage 15 started in Grenoble and went over the Croix de Fer, the Télégraphe, and the Galibier to a hilltop finish at Les Deux Alpes. It was generally surmised that if Ullrich could stay with Pantani until the final climb he would be safe because the climb to Les Deux Alpes averages 6.2% with an early section of a little over 10% gradient. Ullrich's big-gear momentum style of climbing would be well suited to this climb.

Pantani didn't wait for the last climb. On the Galibier he exploded and quickly disappeared up the mountain. At the top he had 2½ minutes on Ullrich. On the descent Pantani used his superb descending skills to increase his lead on the now isolated Ullrich. By the start of the final ascent Pantani had a lead of more than 4 minutes. On the climb to Les Deux Alpes Ullrich's lack of deep, hard conditioning made itself manifest. He was in trouble and needed teammates Riis and Udo Bolts to pace him up the mountain. At the top of the mountain the catastrophe (as far as Telekom was concerned) was complete. Pantani was in Yellow, having taken almost 9 minutes out of the German who came in twenty-fifth that day. The new General Classification shows how dire Ullrich's position was:

  1. Marco Pantani
  2. Bobby Julich @ 3 minutes 53 seconds
  3. Fernando Escartin @ 4 minutes 14 seconds
  4. Jan Ullrich @ 5 minutes 56 seconds

Stage 15: He's on fire! Pantani wins at Les Deux Alpes.

Stage 16 was the last day of truly serious climbing with the Porte, Cucheron, Granier, Gran Cucheron and the Madeleine. On the final climb Ullrich showed that he was doing much better than the day before when he attacked and only Pantani could go with him. Since Pantani was the leader and had the luxury of riding defensively, he let Ullrich do all the work. If Ullrich couldn't drop Pantani, he could at least put some distance between himself and Julich and Escartin, which he did. Pantani and Ullrich came in together with Ullrich taking the stage victory in Albertville. Julich and Escartin followed the duo by 1 minute, 49 seconds. Ullrich was back on the General Classification Podium:

  1. Marco Pantani
  2. Bobby Julich @ 5 minutes 42 seconds
  3. Jan Ullrich @ 5 minutes 56 seconds
  4. Fernando Escartin @ 6 minutes 3 seconds

On Wednesday July 29, stage 17, the riders staged a strike. They started by riding very slowly and at the site of the first intermediate sprint they sat down. After talking with race officials they took off their numbers and rode slowly to the finish in Aix-les-Bains with several TVM riders in the front holding hands to show the solidarity of the peloton. If the reader thinks that the other members of the peloton did not know that the TVM team was doping I have ocean-front land in Arkansas for him to buy. Along the way the Banesto, ONCE and Risso Scotti teams abandoned the Tour. The Tour organization voided the stage allowing those riders who were members of teams that had not officially abandoned to start on Thursday.

Why all this anger now? First of all, the day before drugs were said to be found in a truck belonging to the Big Mat Auber 93 team. The next day this turned out to be untrue. Then the entire TVM squad was taken into custody and the team's cars and trucks were seized. They, like the Festina team, were handled roughly by the police, sparking outrage from the riders not yet in jail.

Thursday, July 30, stage 18: Kelme and Vitalicio Seguros quit the Tour. That made all 4 Spanish teams out. Rudolfo Massi, winner of stage 10 was taken into custody. At the start of the stage there were now only 103 riders left in the peloton, down from 189 starters.

Friday, July 31, stage 19. TVM abandoned the Tour. It turned out that ONCE's team doctor Nicolas Terrados was also put under arrest after a police search found drugs on their bus that later turned out to be legal.

So now it was Ullrich's last chance to take the Tour with the stage 20 52-kilometer individual time trial. Pantani was too good, losing only 2 minutes and 35 seconds to Ullrich. That sealed the Tour for Pantani. Ullrich acknowledged that he had not taken his preparation for the Tour seriously and paid a very high price for his lack of discipline. Sounding a note that will become a metaphor for the balance of his career, he promised to work harder in the future and not repeat his mistakes.

1998 Tour de France final podium: Left to right, Ullrich, Pantani and Julich

Of 189 starters in this Tour, 96 finished.

Final 1998 Tour de France General Classification:

  1. Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno): 92 hours 49 minutes 46 seconds
  2. Jan Ullrich (Telekom) @ 3 minutes 21 seconds
  3. Bobby Julich (Cofidis) @ 4 minutes 8 seconds
  4. Christophe Rinero (Cofidis) @ 9 minutes 16 seconds
  5. Michael Boogerd (Rabobank) @ 11 minutes 26 seconds

Climbers' competition:

  1. Christophe Rinero: 200 points
  2. Marco Pantani: 175 points
  3. Alberto Elli: 165 points

Points competition:

  1. Erik Zabel: 327 points
  2. Stuart O'Grady: 230 points
  3. Tom Steels: 221 points  

Pantani became the first Italian to win the Tour since Felice Gimondi in 1965. He became the seventh man to do the Giro-Tour double, joining Coppi, Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, Roche and Indurain.

The drug busts of 1998 did little to alter rider and team behavior. There would be more drug raids and more outraged screams from the riders. But the police knew what they were dealing with. The riders had formed a conspiracy to cheat and to break the law. Their code of silence was nothing more than a culture of intimidation to allow the riders to do what they had done for more than 100 years, take drugs to relieve their pain, allow them to sleep and improve their performance. Their anger at the treatment they received from the police is indicative of their sense of entitlement, their feeling that this was something that they could and sometimes had to do. On the other hand cops like to catch bad guys and when they do, they aren't always gentle.

Now, there is one other question that needs to be asked. Voet, who had chosen a lightly-traveled road on his way to Calais, was expecting the customs station at the French frontier to be abandoned. It wasn't and he was stopped and searched by border agents who seemed to be waiting for him. Roussel believes that when Tour Boss Jean-Marie Leblanc, who is conservative politically, talked Roussel into letting Bernadette Chirac, wife of conservative French President Jacques Chirac, do a bit of self-promotion when she visited the Tour for stage 7, the Tour became a target in the war between France's Right and the Left. The left-center coalition government had given the Ministry for Sports and Youth to the left-leaning Marie-George Buffet. Roussel hypothesized that Festina, Leblanc and the Tour were sacrificed to give Buffet a victory against the Right and incidentally, against doping. Certainly it was clear after the 1998 Tour that systematized doping was part of the professional cycling scene and had been that way for some time. Roussel asks why did this festering problem erupt into scandal at this point? A deeper exploration of the subject is beyond the intended scope of this book.

If the reader is interested I recommend Les Woodland's The Crooked Path to Victory where the complex subject of sport, politics, dope and the 1998 Tour is brilliantly dissected.

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