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1997 Tour de France

1997 Tour de France
Route of the 1997 Tour de France
Route of the 1997 Tour de France
Race details
Dates5–27 July 1997
Stages21 + Prologue
Distance3,950 km (2,454 mi)
Winning time100h 30' 35"
Winner  Jan Ullrich (GER) (Team Telekom)
  Second  Richard Virenque (FRA) (Festina–Lotus)
  Third  Marco Pantani (ITA) (Mercatone Uno)

Points  Erik Zabel (GER) (Team Telekom)
Mountains  Richard Virenque (FRA) (Festina–Lotus)
  Youth  Jan Ullrich (GER) (Team Telekom)
  Combativity  Richard Virenque (FRA) (Festina–Lotus)
  Team Team Telekom
← 1996
1998 →

The 1997 Tour de France was the 84th edition of the Tour de France and took place from 5 to 27 July. Jan Ullrich's victory margin of 9:09 was the largest margin of victory since Laurent Fignon won the 1984 Tour de France by 10:32.[1] Since 1997 no rider has had this convincing of a win with the closest margin to Ullrich's victory being Vincenzo Nibali winning the 2014 Tour de France with a gap of 7:39. Ullrich's simultaneous victories in both the general classification and the young riders' classification marked the first time the same rider had won both categories in the same Tour since Laurent Fignon in 1983. The points classification was won by Ullrich's teammate Erik Zabel, for the second time, and their team Team Telekom also won the team classification. The mountains classification was won by Richard Virenque for the fourth time.


198 riders in 22 teams commenced the 1997 Tour de France. 139 riders finished.[2] The 16 teams with the highest UCI ranking at the start of 1997 were automatically qualified.[3] Six wildcard invitations were also given.[4][5]

The teams entering the race were:[6]

Qualified teams

Invited teams

Route and stages

The highest point of elevation in the race was 2,408 m (7,900 ft) at the summit of the Port d'Envalira mountain pass on stages 10 and 11.[7][8]

Stage characteristics and winners[2][9]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
P 5 July Rouen 7.3 km (4.5 mi) Individual time trial  Chris Boardman (GBR)
1 6 July Rouen to Forges-les-Eaux 192.0 km (119.3 mi) Flat stage  Mario Cipollini (ITA)
2 7 July Saint-Valery-en-Caux to Vire 262.0 km (162.8 mi) Flat stage  Mario Cipollini (ITA)
3 8 July Vire to Plumelec 224.0 km (139.2 mi) Flat stage  Erik Zabel (GER)
4 9 July Plumelec to Le Puy du Fou 223.0 km (138.6 mi) Flat stage  Nicola Minali (ITA)
5 10 July Chantonnay to La Châtre 261.5 km (162.5 mi) Flat stage  Cédric Vasseur (FRA)
6 11 July Le Blanc to Marennes 217.5 km (135.1 mi) Flat stage  Jeroen Blijlevens (NED)
7 12 July Marennes to Bordeaux 194.0 km (120.5 mi) Flat stage  Erik Zabel (GER)
8 13 July Sauternes to Pau 161.5 km (100.4 mi) Flat stage  Erik Zabel (GER)
9 14 July Pau to Loudenvielle 182.0 km (113.1 mi) Mountain stage  Laurent Brochard (FRA)
10 15 July Luchon to Andorra Arcalis 252.5 km (156.9 mi) Mountain stage  Jan Ullrich (GER)
11 16 July Andorra Arcalis to Perpignan 192.0 km (119.3 mi) Hilly stage  Laurent Desbiens (FRA)
17 July Saint-Étienne Rest day
12 18 July Saint-Étienne 55.0 km (34.2 mi) Individual time trial  Jan Ullrich (GER)
13 19 July Saint-Étienne to Alpe d'Huez 203.5 km (126.4 mi) Mountain stage  Marco Pantani (ITA)
14 20 July Le Bourg-d'Oisans to Courchevel 148.0 km (92.0 mi) Mountain stage  Richard Virenque (FRA)
15 21 July Courchevel to Morzine 208.5 km (129.6 mi) Mountain stage  Marco Pantani (ITA)
16 22 July Morzine to Fribourg (Switzerland) 181.0 km (112.5 mi) Hilly stage  Christophe Mengin (FRA)
17 23 July Fribourg (Switzerland) to Colmar 218.5 km (135.8 mi) Flat stage  Neil Stephens (AUS)
18 24 July Colmar to Montbéliard 175.5 km (109.1 mi) Hilly stage  Didier Rous (FRA)
19 25 July Montbéliard to Dijon 172.0 km (106.9 mi) Flat stage  Mario Traversoni (ITA)
20 26 July Disneyland Paris 63.0 km (39.1 mi) Individual time trial  Abraham Olano (ESP)
21 27 July Disneyland Paris to Paris (Champs-Élysées) 149.5 km (92.9 mi) Flat stage  Nicola Minali (ITA)
Total 3,950 km (2,454 mi)[10]

Race overview

Jan Ullrich wearing the race leader's yellow jersey as the Tour passed through the Vosges mountains

The Prologue was won by Time Trial Specialist Chris Boardman giving him the Yellow Jersey for stage one with Ullrich just two seconds behind. Defending champion Bjarne Riis, who had been preparing for and seeking a repeat victory with Ullrich acting as his Super-Domestique finished outside the top 10 but was in no way concerned as he had come into the Tour in good form. The first four stages were flat stages, the first two of which were won by the infamous Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini with the third going to Erik Zabel and the fourth being won by Nicola Minali. Cipollini would wear the Yellow Jersey following the first few stages due to bonus seconds during the sprint finishes.[11] During the 261 km stage five from Chantonnay to Le Chatre Cédric Vasseur survived a breakaway and finished nearly two and a half minutes ahead of the Peloton to claim the stage win and the Yellow Jersey, which he would hold on to until the race reached the high mountains.

Stage 6 was won by Jeroen Blijlevens in a sprint finish with Djamolidine Abdoujaparov finishing 2nd which would be his highest placing in this final TDF of his impressive career. Stages 7 and 8 followed rounding out the first week with sprint finishes, both of which were won by Erik Zabel as he bested Jaan Kirsipuu and Blijlevens in stage 7 and Minali and Blijlevens in stage 8. Zabel had donned the Green Jersey following stage 3 and would hold it all the way to Paris. Stage 9 was the first stage in the Pyrenees which included the Col d'Aspin and Col du Tourmalet as two of the five categorized climbs. Laurent Brochard won the stage with the elite group of Richard Virenque, Pantani and Ullrich finishing 0:14 behind. Surprisingly to some defending champion Riis lost nearly thirty seconds to the other contenders coming across in 8th putting him in a tie for 4th in the overall standings with Virenque at 1:43 behind Vasseur after the first major mountain stage. Spaniard Abraham Olano was in 3rd at 1:14 behind and the next closest GC favorite was Ullrich 0:14 behind him.[12]

Stage 10 was another high mountain stage with five climbs and was won convincingly by Ullrich by 1:06 over Virenque and Pantani as Riis and Olano each lost more than three minutes. With the victory Ullrich became the first German rider to wear the maillot jaune since Klaus-Peter Thaler in the 1978 Tour de France and only 3rd overall as "Didi" Dietrich Thurau wore it for 15 days in the 1977 Tour de France.[11] Stage 11 was an intermediate stage in which Laurent Desbiens survived to finish 0:18 ahead of the bunch together with two other riders whom he outsprinted to take the stage win. There were no major attacks by the GC riders in this stage so going into the ITT in Stage 12 Ullrich was convincingly in the lead at 2:38 over Virenque, 4:46 over Olano and 4:53 over his teammate Riis, who at this point remained confident he was still the leader of Team Telekom with Ullrich continuing to ride for him as a Super-Domestique.

The individual time trial extinguished any and all doubts who was in command of the race as Ullrich put more than three minutes into all of his competitors and teammates with 2nd place Virenque now approaching a six-minute deficit in the overall standings and Pantani, Olano and Riis each being eight minutes or more behind.

Marco Pantani climbing towards the finish of stage 13 at Alpe d'Huez

Stage 13 was Alpe d'Huez and the only rider able to drop Ullrich was Pantani who had to put in one of the fastest recorded times up Alpe d'Huez in TDF history in order to do so.[13] Virenque finished 3rd 1:27 behind Pantani and Francesco Casagrande finished 4th on the stage while also moving to 6th place in the overall standings. Riis finished 5th, losing nearly another two minutes to Ullrich. In stage 14 Virenque made an attack to win back time on Ullrich, helped by his entire team. The margin was never more than two minutes, and Ullrich was able to get back to Virenque before the final climb. Virenque won the stage, but Ullrich finished in the same time.[14] In stage 15 it was the Pirate attacking and winning his second stage and while he remained more than ten minutes behind Ullrich he did jump Riis in the standings to move in the final podium position.

Ullrich remained fully in command as the race progressed and aside from suffering a major crash or failing a doping control there wasn't much chance of him losing the Tour. Stage 18 was the final mountain stage and included a rare climb up the Ballon d'Alsace, which was a popular stage early in TDF history but hadn't been included since the 1982 Tour de France and was added to the route for only the 4th time since World War II.[15] Frenchman Didier Rous would win the stage beating the next closest breakaway riders in Pascal Hervé, Bobby Julich and Laurent Roux by more than five minutes to finish the mountain stages with there being no further changes among the general classification favorites.[16]

The final ITT in Stage 20 was won by Olano with Ullrich taking second 0:45 back. The final stage on the Champs-Élysées was won by Nicola Minali who beat out Zabel, Blijlevens, Henk Vogel, Robbie McEwen and George Hincapie in the mass sprint finish. Afterwards on the podiums Erik Zabel was awarded the green jersey, Richard Virenque won the King of the Mountains as well as the Most Combative Rider, in 3rd place on the podium was Marco Pantani, in 2nd was Virenque and in 1st overall winning the best young rider award, as well as the yellow jersey as champion of the Tour de France was Jan Ullrich.

Classification leadership and minor prizes

There were several classifications in the 1997 Tour de France.[17] The most important was the general classification, calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey; the winner of this classification is considered the winner of the Tour.[18][19]

Additionally, there was a points classification, which awarded a green jersey. In the points classification, cyclists got points for finishing among the best in a stage finish, or in intermediate sprints. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a green jersey.[18][20]

There was also a mountains classification. The organisation had categorised some climbs as either hors catégorie, first, second, third, or fourth-category; points for this classification were won by the first cyclists that reached the top of these climbs first, with more points available for the higher-categorised climbs. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and wore a white jersey with red polka dots.[18][21]

The fourth individual classification was the young rider classification, which was not marked by a jersey. This was decided the same way as the general classification, but only riders under 26 years were eligible.[18][22]

For the team classification, the times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added; the leading team was the team with the lowest total time.[18][23]

In addition, there was a combativity award given after each mass-start stage to the cyclist considered most combative. The decision was made by a jury composed of journalists who gave points. The cyclist with the most points from votes in all stages led the combativity classification.[24] Richard Virenque won this classification, and was given overall the super-combativity award.[25] The Souvenir Henri Desgrange was given in honour of Tour founder Henri Desgrange to the first rider to pass the summit of the Port d'Envalira on stage 10. This prize was won by Virenque for the third time, the most by any rider in Tour history.[26][7][27]

Classification leadership by stage[28][29]
Stage Winner General classification
A yellow jersey.
Points classification
A green jersey
Mountains classification
A white jersey with red polka dots.
Young rider classification[a] Team classification Combativity
Award Classification
P Chris Boardman Chris Boardman Chris Boardman Cyril Saugrain Jan Ullrich Team Telekom no award
1 Mario Cipollini Mario Cipollini Mario Cipollini Artūras Kasputis Artūras Kasputis Artūras Kasputis
2 Mario Cipollini Laurent Brochard Thierry Gouvenou Thierry Gouvenou
3 Erik Zabel Erik Zabel François Simon
4 Nicola Minali Philippe Gaumont
5 Cédric Vasseur Cédric Vasseur GAN Cédric Vasseur Cédric Vasseur
6 Jeroen Blijlevens Pascal Lance
7 Erik Zabel Adriano Baffi
8 Erik Zabel Fabio Baldato
9 Laurent Brochard Team Telekom Pascal Hervé
10 Jan Ullrich Jan Ullrich Richard Virenque Festina–Lotus Jean-Philippe Dojwa
11 Laurent Desbiens Philippe Gaumont
12 Jan Ullrich Team Telekom no award
13 Marco Pantani Nicola Loda
14 Richard Virenque Richard Virenque Richard Virenque
15 Marco Pantani Laurent Jalabert
16 Christophe Mengin Stéphane Heulot
17 Neil Stephens Neil Stephens
18 Didier Rous Didier Rous
19 Mario Traversoni Bart Voskamp
20 Abraham Olano no award
21 Nicola Minali Pascal Chanteur
Final Jan Ullrich Erik Zabel Richard Virenque Jan Ullrich Team Telekom Richard Virenque

Final standings

A yellow jersey. Denotes the winner of the general classification[18] A green jersey. Denotes the winner of the points classification[18]
A white jersey with red polka dots. Denotes the winner of the mountains classification[18]

General classification

Final general classification (1–10)[30][31]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Jan Ullrich (GER) A yellow jersey. Team Telekom 100h 30' 35"
2  Richard Virenque (FRA) A white jersey with red polka dots. Festina–Lotus + 9' 09"
3  Marco Pantani (ITA) Mercatone Uno + 14' 03"
4  Abraham Olano (ESP) Banesto + 15' 55"
5  Fernando Escartín (ESP) Kelme–Costa Blanca + 20' 32"
6  Francesco Casagrande (ITA) Saeco–Estro + 22' 47"
7  Bjarne Riis (DEN) Team Telekom + 26' 34"
8  José María Jiménez (ESP) Banesto + 31' 17"
9  Laurent Dufaux (SUI) Festina–Lotus + 31' 55"
10  Roberto Conti (ITA) Mercatone Uno + 32' 26"

Points classification[edit]

Final points classification (1–10)[30]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Erik Zabel (GER) A green jersey. Team Telekom 350
2  Frédéric Moncassin (FRA) GAN 223
3  Mario Traversoni (ITA) Mercatone Uno 198
4  Jeroen Blijlevens (NED) TVM–Farm Frites 192
5  Nicola Minali (ITA) Batik–Del Monte 156
6  Jan Ullrich (GER) A yellow jersey. Team Telekom 154
7  Robbie McEwen (AUS) Rabobank 151
8  Richard Virenque (FRA) A white jersey with red polka dots. Festina–Lotus 151
9  François Simon (FRA) GAN 145
10  Adriano Baffi (ITA) U.S. Postal Service 131

Mountains classification[edit]

Final mountains classification (1–10)[30]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Richard Virenque (FRA) A white jersey with red polka dots. Festina–Lotus 579
2  Jan Ullrich (GER) A yellow jersey. Team Telekom 328
3  Francesco Casagrande (ITA) Saeco–Estro 309
4  Marco Pantani (ITA) Mercatone Uno 269
5  Laurent Brochard (FRA) Festina–Lotus 241
6  Laurent Dufaux (SWI) Festina–Lotus 212
7  Pascal Hervé (FRA) Festina–Lotus 176
8  Fernando Escartín (ESP) Kelme–Costa Blanca 141
9  Bjarne Riis (DEN) Team Telekom 139
10  José María Jiménez (ESP) Banesto 136

Young rider classification[edit]

Final young rider classification (1–10)[30]
Rank Rider Team Time
1  Jan Ullrich (GER) A yellow jersey. Team Telekom 100h 30' 35"
2  Peter Luttenberger (AUT) Rabobank + 45' 39"
3  Michael Boogerd (NED) Rabobank + 1h 00' 33"
4  Daniele Nardello (ITA) Mapei–GB + 1h 01' 30"
5  Laurent Roux (FRA) TVM–Farm Frites + 1h 17' 44"
6  Santiago Blanco (ESP) Banesto + 1h 29' 18"
7  Ángel Luis Casero (ESP) Banesto + 1h 35' 11"
8  Joona Laukka (FIN) Festina–Lotus + 1h 43' 05"
9  Kevin Livingston (USA) Cofidis + 1h 46' 23
10  Frank Vandenbroucke (BEL) Mapei–GB + 2h 09' 34

Team classification[edit]

Final team classification (1–10)[2][31]
Rank Team Time
1 Team Telekom 310h 51' 30"
2 Mercatone Uno + 31' 56"
3 Festina–Lotus + 47' 52"
4 Banesto + 1h 05' 15"
5 Kelme–Costa Blanca + 2h 20' 22"
6 Mapei–GB + 2h 28' 14"
7 Rabobank + 2h 40' 30"
8 Saeco–Estro + 4h 06' 13"
9 Française des Jeux + 4h 15' 59"
10 U.S. Postal Service + 4h26' 19"

Combativity classification

Final combativity classification (1–3)[32]
Rank Rider Team Points
1  Richard Virenque (FRA) A white jersey with red polka dots. Festina–Lotus 54
2  Cédric Vasseur (FRA) GAN 35
3  Marco Pantani (ITA) Mercatone Uno 34


After Ullrich's domination of the 1997 Tour de France at his young age, it was believed that Ullrich would dominate the Tour de France for the next years.[33] However, Ullrich would never win the Tour again, although he did reach the podium four more times finishing second to Pantani in 1998 and standing 2nd on the podium to Lance Armstrong three times. He also reached the podium in the 2005 Tour de France, but that result was later voided. Ullrich would win another Grand Tour however, the 1999 Vuelta a España.


  1. ^ A white jersey was not awarded to the leader of the young rider classification between 1989 and 1999.[22]


  1. ^ Augendre, Jacques (2009). Guide Historique, Part 6 (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. p. 115. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "84ème Tour de France 1997" [84th Tour de France 1997]. Mémoire du cyclisme (in French). Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Second Edition News for December 12, 1996, UCI Team Rankings -- Prospects for 1997". Cyclingnews. 12 December 1997. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  4. ^ Startt, James (18 June 1997). "News for June 18, 1997: Final Tour Team list". Cyclingnews. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  5. ^ Startt, James (17 June 1997). "Reaction to the Wild Cards". Cyclingnews (Second ed.). Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  6. ^ "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1997 – The starters". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  7. ^ a b Augendre 2016, p. 185.
  8. ^ "84ème Tour de France 1997" [84th Tour de France 1997]. Mémoire du cyclisme (in French). Archived from the original on 19 December 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  9. ^ "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1997 – The stage winners". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 3 April 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  10. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 110.
  11. ^ a b "The history of the Tour de France, Year 1997: Ullrich admitted doping". Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  12. ^ "1997 Tour de France". Archived from the original on 15 May 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  13. ^ Tim Maloney (21 July 2004). "Armstrong dominates on l'Alpe d'Huez". Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2008.
  14. ^ "Ullrich withstands Virenque". Deseret News. 21 July 1997. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Col du Ballon d'Alsace by BikeRaceInfo". Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  16. ^ "1997 Tour de France". Archived from the original on 15 May 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
  17. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 452–455.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h "Tour 97: Règlement" [Tour 97: Regulations]. Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 12 July 1997. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  19. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 452–453.
  20. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 453–454.
  21. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 454.
  22. ^ a b Nauright & Parrish 2012, pp. 454–455.
  23. ^ Nauright & Parrish 2012, p. 455.
  24. ^ van den Akker 2018, pp. 211–216.
  25. ^ Augendre 2016, p. 88.
  26. ^ Fischer, Jürgen (16 July 1997). "Riis zeigt Schwächen, Jan Ullrich hält sich zurück" [Riis shows weaknesses, Jan Ullrich holds back]. Die Welt (in German). Archived from the original on 1 May 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  27. ^ van den Akker 2018, p. 199.
  28. ^ "Tour de France 1997 – Leaders overview". ProCyclingStats. Archived from the original on 16 February 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  29. ^ van den Akker, Pieter. "Informatie over de Tour de France van 1997" [Information about the Tour de France from 1997]. (in Dutch). Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  30. ^ a b c d e "The history of the Tour de France – Year 1997 – Stage 21 Disneyland-Paris > Paris". Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 2 April 2020. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  31. ^ a b "Tour de France 1997 - Stage 21, Disneyland (Paris) to Champs Elysses (Paris), 149.5 km". Cyclingnews. 1997. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  32. ^ "Jan Ullrich, une premiere pour changer d'ere l'homme mur de Berlin s'est erige a Paris Abraham Olano sauve son Tour de Justesse" [Jan Ullrich, a first to change the era of the Berlin wall man built in Paris Abraham Olano rescues his Tower of Justice]. Le Soir (in French). 28 July 1997. Archived from the original on 8 October 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  33. ^ Abt, Samuel (28 July 1997). "A New Dynasty Begins at the Tour de France". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2013.


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1997 Tour de France
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