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Pascal Lance holds off Curran

Paul winning the first stage from Pascal Lance (Fr)Paul Curran, the Commonwealth Games and national road race champion, finished second to Frechman Pascal Lance in the Circuit des Mines stage race in France - a race that Curran won in 1986.

Curran won the first stage, but Lance - a member of the French team time trial squad that finished fourth in last year's world championship - took over the race lead because of a better placing in the prologue time trial, and held his lead to the finish, consolidating it with an emphatic win in the fifth stage time trial where Curran finished third.

"The first stage was the longest," said Curran. "A group of 20 broke away with 25 miles to go. I got across to them, and then with eight miles left - on a first-category climb - I attacked, taking Lance with me.

"Lance defended his jersey all the way through and I had to defend my second place. Although I finished third in the time trial to Lance, I had one and a half minutes over my rivals for my second place.

"Lance won the race three years ago and I came second, but when I won in 1986 it was probably because he wasn't riding.

"Nigel Bishop was our next best in 23rd place, but he had a bad start when he punctured on the first stage - in fact the first puncture of the race - then he was penalised a minute for receiving pace when trying to get back to the bunch."

Andy Wilkinson was 46th, Chris Young 52nd, Paul Brown 64th and Bernie burns 69th.


1. PASCAL LANCE (France) 16-59.15
2. Curran (GB) at 58sec
3. Nippen (WB) at 2-34
4. Karlowlcz (Pol) at 2-36
5. Bourguignon (Fr) at 3-27
6. Puttini (Switz) at 3-42
7. Jeremie (Fr) at 3-56
8. Chanton (France) at 4-12
9. Delion (Fr) at 4-16
10. Mancini (Switz) at 4-20.