Jan Ullrich leads controversy-marred Tour de France at midpoint
PERPIGNAN, France (AP) _ Germany’s Jan Ullrich is still in command of the controversy-marred Tour de France.
Ullrich continued to wear the leader’s yellow jersey as the race reached the midpoint on Wednesday.
Ullrich finished in the main pack in the 11th stage, less than a minute behind the leaders as yet 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.
Italy’s Carlo Finco finished second and Outschakov wound up third.
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.
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.
The racers get a rest day today in St. Etienne and an important time trial there Friday.
From that point, there are four days in the Alps before another time trial in Disneyland Paris July 26 and the finish in Paris on July 27.