L'ALPE D'HUEZ, FRANCE, JULY 11 -- Defending champion Greg LeMond virtually conceded defeat in this year's Tour de France after being outsprinted to the finish today by Gianni Bugno of Italy in a dramatic end to the toughest mountain stage of the 21-stage cycle race.
Race leader Ronan Pensec of France, a member of LeMond's "Z" team, came in 10th to retain the yellow jersey and take a giant step toward overall victory.
Asked if he had won the Tour in with today's performance, Pensec replied: "Maybe. But there's still the time trial tomorrow. After that we will see."
LeMond needed to make big inroads into an almost 10-minute deficit on Pensec. Though the American two-time champion moved up to third overall, his French teammate still leads him by 9 minutes 4 seconds.
Claudio Chiappucci of Italy is second, only 88 seconds behind.
"It was disappointing not to win today but it was important to be among the top riders in a stage like that," said LeMond, who was clocked in the same time as Bugno in 5 hours 37 minutes 51 seconds. "I was very surprised by Pensec. I didn't think he would be so close. I will just be helping him win the Tour from now on. I'm the backup if things go wrong."
Canada's Steve Bauer, who led for the first 10 days of the race, and Raul Alcala of Mexico dropped out of contention, Alcala losing 5 minutes 41 seconds. Ireland's Stephen Roche, 1987 Tour winner, also fell back.ELEVENTH STAGE 113 miles from Mont Blanc to l'Alpe d'Huez
1, Gianni Bugno, Chateau D'Ax, Italy, 5 hours 37 minutes 51 seconds; 2, Greg LeMond, Z, Wayzata, Minn., same time; 3, Erik Breukink, PDM, Netherlands, 1 second behind; 4, Thierry Claveyrolat, RMO, France, 4 behind; 5, Fabio Parra, Kelme, Colombia, 6.
6, Abelardo Rondon, Banesto, Colombia, 40; 7, Andrew Hampsten, 7-Eleven, Boulder, Colo., same time; 8, Pedro Delgado, Banesto, Spain, same time; 9, Claude Criquielion, Lotto, Belgium, 47; 10, Ronan Pensec, Z, France, 48. 11, Robert Millar, Z, Britain, 56; 12, Eduardo Chozas, ONCE, Spain, 1:09; 13, Claudio Chiappucci, Carrera, Italy, 1:26; 14, Anselmo Fuerte, ONCE, Spain, same time; 15, Fabrice Philipot, Castorama, France, 1:34.Other Americans
91, Bob Roll, 7-Eleven, Santa Fe, N.M., 24:58; 92, Ron Kiefel, 7-Eleven, Boulder, Colo., same time; 100, Andy Bishop, 7-Eleven, Tucson, 25:35; 135, Norman Alvis, 7-Eleven, Sacramento, Calif., 28:42; 138; 167, Davis Phinney, 7-Eleven, Boulder, Colo., 40:47. Overall Standings
After 11 stages
1, Pensec, 48 hours 24 minutes 43 seconds; 2, Chiappucci, 1 minute 28 seconds behind; 3, LeMond, 9:04 behind; 4, Breukink, 9:28; 5, Bugno, 10:39; 6, Delgado, 11:05; 7, Criquielion, 11:29; 8, Raul Alcala, PDM, Mexico, 11:55; 9, Hampsten, 13:45; 10, Philipot, 13:49; 11, Chozas, 13:52; 12, Pello Ruiz Cabestany, ONCE, Spain, 13:53; 13, Marino Lejarreta, ONCE, Spain, 14:25; 14, Fuerte, 14:35; 15, Claveyrolat, 14:52.