Olano grasps Zulle's gold

Abraham Olano, of Spain, rode a brilliant time-trial to win the ninth stage of the Tour of Spain and take the overall lead yesterday.

Abraham Olano, of Spain, rode a brilliant time-trial to win the ninth stage of the Tour of Spain and take the overall lead yesterday.

The ONCE rider negotiated the 22.7 miles in impressive fashion, riding at an average speed of more than 30mph. Switzerland's Alex Zülle finished more than two minutes behind and had to surrender the race leader's gold jersey.

A fine day for the ONCE team was completed when Santos Gonzalez finished second in the stage, 13 seconds slower than his team-mate.

The world time-trial champion Jan Ullrich conceded over a minute to Olano, taking sixth place overall. The deficit was partly due to a puncture after 15 kilometres but the Telekom rider never looked as powerful or determined as Olano. Zülle won the tour in 1996 and 1997 while Olano won it in 1998. Germany's Jan Ullrich won the race last year.

On Saturday, Italy's Alessandro Petacchi claimed the first major victory of his professional career on the eighth stage between Vinaros and Port Aventura. Today's stage sees the 21-day race entering the Pyrenees with a 103-mile ride.

* The Swiss rider Thomas Frischknecht received a gold medal for the 1996 mountain bike cross-country world championship after the original winner Jerome Chiotti had admitted using the banned drug EPO and was stripped of the title.

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