DIJON, FRANCE, JULY 24 -- Pedro Delgado of Spain and Ireland's Stephen Roche kept the 74th Tour de France a two-man race heading into the final two stages by finishing together in the pack today in the 139.5-mile 23rd stage.
Delgado retained the overall lead for the fourth consecutive day. However, his advantage is just 21 seconds over Roche. Delgado's lead is particularly tenuous because of Saturday's mainly flat, 23.6-mile individual time trial, the next-to-last stage of the Tour. Roche is considered better on flat courses than Delgado.
France's Regis Clere broke from an eight-man lead group less than 1,000 yards from the finish to win today's stage from St. Julien-en-Genevois in 6 hours 41 minutes 22 seconds.
Clere, who also won the 16th stage, joined Dutchman Jean-Paul Van Poppel as the only riders to win two stages in the 25-stage race that began July 1 in West Berlin.
Frenchman Jean-Claude Leclercq was three seconds behind Clere. He was followed by Switzerland's Alfred Achermann, Dutchmen Gerrie Knetemann and Henk Lubberding, Belgians Eric Van Lancker and Rudy Patry and Frenchman Frederic Brun.
"It was a quiet day today, but, tomorrow, I have a duel on my hands to win the Tour de France," said Delgado, the 1985 Tour of Spain winner who was outstanding in five mountain stages in the Alps this week.