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Stage 10

Guerini collides with fan but still wins stage

By Francois Thomazeau
Giuseppe Guerini
L'ALPE HUEZ, FRANCE, 14 JUL 99 - Guiseppe Guerini of Italy celebrates as he wins the 10th stage of the Tour de France cycling race from Sestrieres, Italy to L'Alpe d'Huez, French Alps July 14. Lance Armstrong of the USA retains his leader's yellow jersey. cp/Photo by Charles Platiau REUTERS
Yellow Jersey Group
L'ALPE HUEZ, FRANCE, 14 JUL 99 - (L to R) Alex Zulle of Switzerland, compatriot Laurent Dufaux, Leader's Yellow Jersey holder Lance Armstrong of the USA, Spanish Fernando Escartin and Italian Guiseppe Guerini climb the Alpe d'Huez during the10th stage of the Tour de France cycling race from Sestrieres, Italy to L'Alpe d'Huez, French Alps July 14. Lance Armstrong of the USA retains his leader's yellow jersey. cp/Photo by Jean-Paul Pelissier REUTERS 

L'ALPE D'HUEZ, France, July 14 - Giuseppe Guerini of Italy won the 10th stage of the Tour de France at the mountain resort of l'Alpe d'Huez on Wednesday despite falling off his bike after colliding with a fan in the final kilometre.

The fan stood in the road to take a photo and Guerini could not avoid him, falling heavily to the ground.

However, the Italian quickly remounted and raced on to beat Russian Pavel Tonkov, who placed second, in the Tour's most prestigious mountain stage.

"I tried to avoid him by going to the left, but he moved and that was it," Guerini said.

"I was fortunate I could climb back on the bike," said Guerini, who was hired by German team Telekom this season to help 1997 Tour winner Jan Ullrich in the mountains.

But in the absence of his team leader, the Italian took his chances, breaking away from the leading group with three kilometres left in the 220.5-kms stage.

American Lance Armstrong, who finished in the leading chasing group 25 seconds behind Guerini, retained his overall lead.

L'Alpe d'Huez is famous for the thousands of Dutch fans standing along its 21 turns, but the classic climb has become an Italian stronghold in the past decade.

Guerini was the fourth Italian in succession to win in l'Alpe d'Huez when it featured on the route. Roberto Conti won in 1994 and last year's Tour winner Marco Pantani triumphed here in 1995 and 1997.

In the last eight stages held on the famous mountain since 1990, Italians have won seven times.

"Last year I won a stage in the Giro but it was not on such a famous course as this," said Guerini, whose victory is by no means a surprise. He also finished on the Italian Tour podium in 1997.

He was the only one to dare attack Armstrong on the final climb as the other contenders for overall victory, Swiss Alex Zuelle, France's Richard Virenque and Spain's Fernando Escartin, remained with the American until the finish.

After his impressive victory in Sestriere on Tuesday, the American will leave the Alps with a solid lead of seven minutes 42 seconds over Spain's Abraham Olano, who again lost precious ground in this stage.

The Vuelta winner finished 12th, 2:04 behind Guerini.

Zuelle is third overall, only five seconds behind Olano.

"My goal today was just to retain my yellow jersey," said Armstrong.

"I was very tired from yesterday and the others were strong," he added.

The Tour leaves the Alps on Thursday on a 198.5-kms ride to St Etienne.

On Bastille day, French riders desperately tried to break the Italian domination.

Former yellow jersey holder Stephane Heulot and the oldest rider in the Tour, Thierry Bourguignon, tried their luck in the descent of the Mont Cenis pass, the first climb of the day.

The two stayed in front until the Alpe d'Huez climb and Heulot was caught with only four kms left, after spending 150 kms in front.

Crowd favorite Virenque finished sixth in the stage and retained his king of the mountains jersey. He is sixth overall, 10:02 behind Armstrong.

Half the bunch were blood tested at the start of the stage but all were allowed to start.

Tour de France 10th stage placings/overall standings

L'ALPE D'HUEZ, France, July 14 - Leading placings in the 10th stage of the Tour de France over 220.5 kms from Sestriere, Italy, on Wednesday: 

1. Giuseppe Guerini (Italy) Telekom six hours 42 minutes 31 seconds 
2. Pavel Tonkov (Russia) Mapei 21 seconds behind 
3. Fernando Escartin (Spain) Kelme 25 secs 
4. Alex Zuelle (Switzerland) Banesto 
5. Richard Virenque (France) Polti  

6. Lance Armstrong (U.S.) U.S. Postal 
7. Laurent Dufaux (Switzerland) Saeco 
8. Kurt van de Wouwer (Belgium) Lotto all same time 
9. Manuel Beltran (Spain) Banesto 32 
10. Carlos Contreras (Colombia) Kelme 49 

11. Stephane Heulot (France)  La Francaise de Jeux 1:43 
12. Abraham Olano (Spain) ONCE 2:04 
13. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) Casino 2:13 
14. Benoit Salmon (France) Casino same time 
15. Andrea Peron (Italy) ONCE 2:42 

16. Angel Casero (Spain) Vitalicio Seguros 
17. Daniele Nardello (Italy) Mapei all same time 
18. Tyler Hamilton (U.S.) U.S. Postal 2:45 
19. Georg Totschnig (Austria) Telekom 3:47 
20. Steve de Wolf (Belgium) Cofidis 4:00 

Leading overall standings: 

1. Armstrong 46 hours 14 minutes three seconds 
2. Olano seven minutes 42 seconds behind 
3. Zuelle 7:47 
4. Dufaux 8:07 
5. Escartin 8:53 

6. Virenque 10:02 
7. Tonkov 10:18 
8. Nardello 10:56 
9. Guerini 10:57 
10. Casero 11:11 

11. Salmon 12:30 
12. Christophe Moreau (France) Festina 12:51 
13. Peron 13:30 
14. Van de Wouwer 16:14 
15. Mario Aerts (Belgium) Lotto 17:31 

16. Bo Hamburger (Denmark) Cantina Tollo 17:47 
17. Beltran 18:27 
18. Garzelli 19:07 
19. Contreras 19:08 
20. Hamilton 19:12