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Dutch Rider Wins Mass Sprint in Tour de France

From Times Wire Services

Dutch rider Mathieu Hermans profited from a surprise fall by Rudy Dhaenens of Belgium to win the first mass sprint of the Tour de France today.

American Greg LeMond retained his second place overall, seven seconds behind Laurent Fignon of France, who took the race leader’s yellow jersey from him Tuesday.

Dhaenens broke away just over a mile from the finish of the 96-mile 11th stage from Luchon in the Pyrenees to Blagnac near Toulouse and looked set for victory until he took a tumble on the approach to a bend 400 yards from the line.

He picked himself up immediately but had to wait for a spare bike before continuing.

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Giovanni Fidanza of Italy was second in the stage and Eddy Planckaert of Belgium third, with the leading pack all finishing in 3 hours, 37 minutes, 47 seconds.

Fabio Parra of Colombia, who finished third last year and was placed 22nd overall at the start of the stage, abandoned the race early on after calling for medical help.

His Colombian teammate, Jose Roncancio, also gave up.

Meanwhile, Monique Knol of the Netherlands took the first stage of the women’s Tour de France today and gained the overall lead.

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Knol was timed in 1 hour, 53 minutes, 34 seconds for the 47-mile leg from Martres-Tolosane to Blagnac. After taking the prologue on Tuesday, she holds a 3-second lead in the general standings over Jutta Niehaus of West Germany.


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