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Tour de France : Da Silva Leads After Two Stages

<i> Associated Press </i>

Acacio da Silva of Portugal, who grew up in Luxembourg, took the overall lead in the 76th Tour de France bicycle race Sunday after winning the 84-mile first stage through the Duchy of Luxembourg.

In Sunday’s second stage, an afternoon team time trial, da Silva’s Carrera team placed 12th, but he still held the overall leader’s yellow jersey. The Super U team was the winner of the time trial in 53 minutes 48 seconds over the 28 1/2 miles.

Defending champion Pedro Delgado of Spain fell far behind after a disastrous weekend, including a late start for the start of Saturday’s prologue.

The competition, a 2,020-mile race that ends July 23 in Paris, opened with a victory by Eric Breukink of the Netherlands in the prologue. Breukink, however, finished far back in the pack in the first leg Sunday and dropped to ninth place by the end of the day.

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Da Silva, whose family moved to Luxembourg when he was 8, has the overall lead, 26 seconds ahead of Denmark’s Soren Lilholt. France’s Laurent Fignon, the 1983 and 1984 winner, is third, 2:37 behind.

Delgado, one of the favorites this year after winning in 1988 by more than seven minutes, was struggling.

In the prologue he arrived at the starting line late and lost nearly three minutes, being placed last. Then in the team event Sunday, he faltered in the final three miles, causing his Reynolds teammates to slow down and finish 22nd, almost five minutes behind.

Overall he trails by 9:57.

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Greg LeMond, the first American to win the prestigious race, in 1986, had a good start and currently is in 14th place, 3:28 behind and less than a minute in back of Fignon, the first of the real contenders.

Monday’s third stage starts in Luxembourg and heads to Belgium to end at Spa Francorchamps, which was the site of a motorcycle race Sunday. Tuesday’s leg starts in Liege and enters France at Wasquehal.


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