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  O'Grady Wins 14th Stage of Tour

By Salvatore Zanca
Associated Press
Sunday, July 26, 1998; 12:47 p.m. EDT



GRENOBLE, France — Stuart O'Grady of Australia, the overall leader for three days earlier in the race, used his sprinting ability Sunday to win the 14th stage of the Tour de France.

Defending champion Jan Ullrich maintained the overall lead, 71 seconds ahead of Bobby Julich of the United States.

Meinert-Nielsen came in fifth, the second consecutive fifth-place finish for a member of the U.S. Postal team.

The 116-mile stage from Valreas to Grenoble was the last before the Alps. With temperatures at 86 degrees, the favorites conserved their strength with the Alps coming up the next three days.

O'Grady was part of a six-man breakaway that left the pack early in the day. He edged Italy's Giuseppe Calcaterra at the line for the victory.

With a world title in team sprinting and Olympic medals on the track, O'Grady was expected be strong in the final stretch.

"I knew if it came down to a sprint, they would be watching for me," O'Grady said. "But I didn't want to have done all that work in the break and have the win go to someone else."

O'Grady and the five others built their lead the last 75 miles, ahead of the pack by 10 minutes.

Of the top six in the stage, Peter Meinert-Nielsen of Denmark was the closest to Ullrich in the overall standings entering the day at more than 38 minutes behind. The rest were nearly an hour or more back.

Orlando Rodrigues of Portugal was third with Leon Van Bon of the Netherlands. Laurent Desbiens, another former yellow jersey holder earlier in the Tour, was sixth.

Monday's 15th stage from Grenoble to Les Deux Alpes covers 118 miles, with four major climbs.

In the ongoing drug scandal, the director and doctor of the Dutch team TVM were jailed during the weekend. They are expected to be brought to Reims for more investigation concerning a drug seizure in the car of one of the team officials in March.

Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc has said he will expel the TVM team, as he did the Festina team, if there is evidence or acknowledgment of drug use by the team.

Three Festina officials, including the director and team doctor, were jailed on drug charges.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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