52nd Vuelta a Espana 1997

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

 

 

Zulle Wins the Fastest Ever Vuelta

The 52nd Vuelta a Espana started in a foreign country for the first time in 1997. The race began in Lisbon, Portugal for the start of Expo '98

The race began to take shape on stage 7, the mountainous stage claimed two very significant victims.  Race leader Laurent Jalabert, who had a brilliant ride on stage 6 to earn the Amarillo Jersey, struggled to answer an attack by Kelme’s Fernando Escartin with 6 kms to go.  Alex Zulle and Laurent Dufaux did catch Escartin as the race leader fell off the pace.  The major GC contenders had made their statement.  Yvon Ledanois (Fra) took the stage win while Laurent Dufaux (Sui) grabbed the race lead.  Jalabert finish more than 8 minutes behind and fell out of contention for the overall victory.

After the dynamic stage 7 only 4 riders would be in the hunt for the overall Vuelta victory.  Strongman Alex Zulle used the stage 9 individual time trial to move into the race leader’s jersey and never looked back.

Zulle put his final stamp of the race lead with a convincing stage 21 ITT win.  Taking no prisoners Zulle caught and passed his “2-minute man”, second placed Escartin to secure the overall victory.

Defending Alex Zulle rode into Madrid to claim the Vuelta victory.  It was Switzerland’s 5th Vuelta victory in 6 years.  The winning time was the fastest in Vuelta history at 41.344 km/h.

Stage and Distance

Stage Winner

Race Leader

Stage 1 Lisbon (Por) to Autocircuit Estoril (Por), 155.7 km

Lars Michaelsen (Den)

Lars Michaelsen (Den)

Stage 2 Evora (Por) to Vilamoura, 225.3 km

Marcel Wust (Ger)

Lars Michaelsen (Den)

Stage 3 Loule to Huelva, 173.3 km

Marcel Wust (Ger)

Lars Michaelsen (Den)

Stage 4 Huelva to Jerez de la Frontera, 192.5 km

Eleuterio Anguita (Spa)

Fabrizio Guidi (Ita)

Stage 5 Jerez de la Frontera to Malaga, 230.8 km

Marcel Wust (Ger)

Lars Michaelsen (Den)

Stage 6 Malaga to Granada, 147 km

Laurent Jalabert (Fra)

Laurent Jalabert (Fra)

Stage 7 Guadix to Sierra Nevada, 219.2 km

Yvon Ledanois (Fra)

Laurent Dufaux (Sui)

Stage 8 Granada to Cordoba, 175.8 km

Bart Voskamp (Hol)

Laurent Dufaux (Sui)

Stage 9 Cordoba to Cordoba, 35 km ITT

Melchor Mauri (Spa)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 10 Cordoba to Almendralejo, 224.5 km

Mariano Piccoli (Ita)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 11 Almendralejo to Plasencia, 194.5 km

Jan Svorada (Cze)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 12 Leon to Alto del Morredero, 147 km

Roberto Heras (Spa)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 13 Ponferrada to E. Valgrande Pajares, 196 km

Pavel Tonkov (Rus)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 14 Oviedo to Alto del Naranco, 169.5 km

Jose Garcia Acosta (Spa)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 15 Oviedo to Lagos de Covadonga, 159.8 km

Pavel Tonkov (Rus)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 16 Cangas De Onis to Santander, 170 km

Jan Svorada (Cze)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 17 Santander to Burgos, 182 km

Jan Svorada (Cze)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 18 Burgos to Valladolid, 183 km

Leon Van Bon (Hol)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 19 Valladolid to L.Angeles de S.Rafael, 193 km

Jose Maria Jimenez (Spa)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 20 Los Angeles de San Rafael to Avila, 199 km

Laurent Jalabert (Fra)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 21 Alcobendas to Alcobendas, 43.7 km ITT

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

Stage 22 Madrid to Madrid, 154.6 km

Max Van Heeswijk (Hol)

Alex Zulle (Sui)

 

BEST CLIMBER PRIZE

Jose to Maria Jimenez (Spa)
 

POINT'S COMPETITION

Laurent Jalabert (Fra)


VaE September 6 - September 28, 1997
3,773.3 km

1. Alex ZULE (Sui) 91h15'55"

2. Fernando Escartin (Spa) +5'07"

3. Laurent Dufaux (Sui) +6'11"

Starters: 198
Finishers: 125
Average Speed: 41.344 km/h * New Record



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