POITIERS, FRANCE, JULY 1 -- Canada's Steve Bauer raced into the lead of the Tour de France today with a performance that brought back memories of 1988.
In the morning, Bauer was fourth in the first stage, an 86-mile loop near Poitiers in central France. That gave him the leader's yellow jersey, which he held after the first stage two years ago.
However, unlike two years ago, he kept it through the afternoon team time trial. His 7-Eleven team, paced by American Andy Hampsten, came in sixth. The time of 54 minutes 12 seconds over the 27.5 miles permitted Bauer to gain a 10-second overall lead over Frans Maassen of the Netherlands.
"The key to keeping the yellow jersey is a good performance by my 7-Eleven team," Bauer said. "But Monday is another day and there are bonuses to take and Maassen is a good sprinter."
Intermediate sprint bonuses count for six-second deductions.
Maassen won the morning stage but his Buckler team couldn't help him overtake Bauer in the afternoon. Buckler ended with a time of 54:20; Panasonic's team won with 53:24.
Ronan Pensec, a member of Greg LeMond's Z team, is third overall, 26 seconds behind Bauer. Defending champion LeMond is more than 10 minutes behind Bauer in 34th. Laurent Fignon of France is 28th, five seconds ahead of LeMond.
Bauer, 31, from Fenwick, Ontario, was 19th in the opening prologue, 21 seconds behind Thierry Marie, who held the lead for one day.
In 1988 Bauer led after the first stage then lost it in the team trial in the afternoon. He regained it for four more stages between the ninth and 12th stages before giving it up to eventual winner Pedro Delgado of Spain. Bauer ended up fourth.
Bauer gained his big lead by joining three others on an early break and then continuing to pull away.
"I just went and followed them," Bauer said. "When the lead got to be 10 minutes I thought it was just about five minutes."
With a final sprint, Maassen won the stage in 3:19:01. Pensec was second; Claudio Chiappucci of Italy was third and Bauer fourth.
Denmark's John Carlsen was fifth. Most of the pack, including LeMond, finished 10:35 behind.