Miguel Indurain held to his lead in the Tour de France even though the Spanish cyclist was edged by Tony Rominger of Switzerland again in today's 11th stage.
Indurain continued to lead the overall standings by staying with Rominger and Alvaro Mejia of Colombia up the final two mountains roads in the second day of the tour's run through the Alps.Rominger and Indurain broke away from a group of seven in the final kilometer of the 112-mile stage that had four climbs above 6,540 feet.
Claudio Chiappucci of Italy was third.
Indurain would accelerate whenever needed and took control of the little group in the final three miles.
When Rominger attacked, Indurain went with him. Indurain moved ahead in the final 100 yards, but Rominger overtook him to win his second consecutive mountain stage.
For the second day in a row, however, Rominger failed to gain any time on Indurain who was third on Wednesday, again close behind Rominger.
The Tour heads to Marseille on Friday to begin three days of flat land before hitting the Pyrenees on Monday.
On Wednesday, Rominger won the 127-mile 10th stage from Villard De Lans to Serre Chevalier, but Indurain was right behind Rominger and Colombia's Alvaro Mejia.
Indurain led a group of five that pulled away from the pack up the final climb to 8,650 feet. The groupo included Italian challengers Gianni Bugno and Claudio Chiappucci.
The pace was so fast that the stage ended 45 minutes ahead of schedule.
"I was in good condition and I was able to climb with Rominger at a very high tempo," Indurain said after the 10th stage Wednesday. "Knowing that Bugno and Chiappucci were left behind, it was interesting to force the pace."
Mejia's performance was good enough to keep him 3 minutes, 8 seconds behind. He and Rominger were the only ones not to lose any time to Indurain.
For others it proved disastrous
Bugno ended up 7:42 behind for the day and is now 10:14 back of Indurain in the overall standings. Chiappucci is 13:56 back.
"At the beginning of the stage I was in a good rhythm. And then when Indurain raised the tempo - nothing, no reaction," Bugno said.