Boardman Sets Stage for Tour de France

From Staff and Wire Reports

Chris Boardman of Britain won Saturday’s prologue of the Tour de France, while a drug scandal involving France’s top-rated Festina team marred the Irish start to the world’s premier cycling race.

Boardman raced to victory on the 3.5-mile route through central Dublin in 6 minutes 12.36 seconds, 4.6 seconds better than runner-up Abraham Olano of Spain.

France’s Laurent Jalabert, the world time trial champion, was third, 4.69 seconds behind Boardman. American Bobby Julich, who races for the French Cofidis team, finished fourth, 4.77 back.

Defending Tour champion Jan Ullrich of Germany was sixth.


It was the third victory for Boardman in five years in the Tour’s prologue.

Festina put in the strongest team performance, with three riders in the top 10, but the arrest of one of its support staff in France clouded its showing.

Willy Voet, a Belgian masseur, was arrested Thursday on the French-Belgian border in possession of more than 400 vials of steroids and the performance-enhancing drug EPO.



Top-seeded Magnus Gustafsson overcame a tough challenge from fellow Swede Thomas Johansson and won a semifinal match in the Swedish Open, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, at Bastad. Gustafsson will play Ukraine’s Andrei Medvedev in today’s final. Medvedev outlasted seventh-seeded Dominic Hrbaty of Slovakia, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2).

Home-crowd favorite Jana Novotna rallied to defeat Slovakia’s Henrieta Nagyova, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, to reach today’s Czech Open final at Prague. The other semifinal between Natasha Zvereva of Belarus and France’s Sandrine Testud was interrupted because of rain and will be finished today. Testud won the first set, 6-3, and Zvereva won the second, 6-4.

Boris Becker of Germany defeated top-seeded Marcelo Rios of Chile, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in the semifinals of the Swiss Open at Gstaad. Becker’s opponent in today’s final will be Alex Corretja of Spain, who outlasted Filip Dewulf of Belgium, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3.



Washington Redskin running back Terry Allen, who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and attempting to elude police, has started to serve a 10-day jail sentence at Monroe, Ga.

Allen pleaded guilty Thursday as part of a plea bargain and began serving his sentence immediately.

Former Chicago Bear defensive lineman Alonzo Spellman was charged with a felony weapons count Friday after police said they found a semiautomatic pistol in his vehicle last month.



Jimmy Vasser, who led first-day qualifying for CART’s Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland, held onto the pole despite failing to improve on his record-setting lap of 134.385 mph Friday. . . . Mika Hakkinen of McLaren won the pole for today’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, England. . . . Randy LaJoie, the two-time defending series champion, rallied for his first win of the season in the NASCAR Busch Grand National Myrtle Beach (S.C.) 250. . . . Mike Bliss claimed the No. 1 starting position for today’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Nazareth, Pa.

Olympic champions Donovan Bailey of Canada and Deon Hemmings of Jamaica sped to victories at a meet in Nuremberg, Germany. Bailey won the 100 meters in 10.07. Hemmings won the women’s 400 hurdles in 54.10.

Day In A Life took the early lead and then barely held off a late charge by Fit For Life to win the $1-million Meadowlands Pace at East Rutherford, N.J.