Highlights of the 1996 Tour De France
The 1996 Tour de France was the 83rd edition of the race and it began on July 6th in Evry, France. The race consisted of 21 stages and covered a total distance of 3,945 kilometers. The final stage of the race was on July 28th in Paris.
The 1996 Tour de France saw a total of 198 riders from 22 teams compete. The field included some of the biggest names in cycling, such as the defending champion Miguel Indurain, who had won the previous five editions of the race, as well as other notable riders such as Bjarne Riis, Alex Zülle, and Tony Rominger.
The race began with a prologue, a short individual time trial, which was won by the German rider Jan Ullrich. Ullrich would go on to wear the yellow jersey, signifying the overall race leader, for the first five stages of the race. However, during the fifth stage, a time trial, Indurain regained the lead and held it for the rest of the race, winning his sixth consecutive Tour de France victory.
The 1996 Tour de France featured several notable moments and storylines. During the first week of the race, the riders faced difficult conditions due to the hot weather, and several riders struggled to keep up with the pace. Additionally, the race was marked by several crashes, including one involving Indurain, who was able to continue despite a broken nose.
Another notable moment came during the 15th stage, which featured a climb up the famous Alpe d'Huez. Ullrich, who had been Indurain's main rival throughout the race, suffered a mechanical problem on the climb, losing valuable time and effectively ending his chances at victory.
The 1996 Tour de France also featured a number of exciting stages, including a dramatic finish on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. In the final stage, a bunch sprint, the Italian rider Mario Cipollini won the stage, while Indurain secured his sixth consecutive victory in the overall classification, becoming the first rider in the history of the race to win six consecutive editions.
Indurain's victory in the 1996 Tour de France was an historic achievement, as he became the first rider in the history of the race to win six consecutive editions. His dominance in the race was a testament to his exceptional talent and strength as a cyclist.
The 1996 Tour de France was not without controversy, however. During the race, it was revealed that several riders had tested positive for banned substances, including the French rider Laurent Jalabert, who was forced to abandon the race as a result. Additionally, the Italian rider Marco Pantani was expelled from the race after testing positive for a banned substance.
Despite these controversies, the 1996 Tour de France will be remembered as a historic edition of the race, marked by Indurain's dominant performance and his record-breaking sixth consecutive victory. The race featured exciting stages, dramatic moments, and some of the biggest names in cycling. It was a memorable year for the Tour de France, and for the sport of cycling as a whole.
It's important to note that Indurain's victory in 1996 was his last and he retired from professional cycling the next year.
Also, the doping scandals during the race were not uncommon and had a negative impact on the reputation of the sport