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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

German Emerges From Pack, Wins Bordeaux Sprint Finish

BORDEAUX, France -- German Erik Zabel earned his second stage win of this year's Tour de France on Thursday as he triumphed in the traditional mass sprint finish in Bordeaux.


Zabel, winner of the sixth stage in Charleroi, Belgium, scorched through the final 200 meters on a sizzling hot day to take the flat 17th stage from Pau.


Thursday's stage was marked by a long breakaway by France's Thierry Marie. He was finally caught with about 10 kilometers left in the 246-kilometer leg of mostly flatlands.


Various riders tried some mini-breakaways but Zabel's Telekom teammates kept the pack under control and paved the way for Zabel.


The German outpaced Uzbek speed ace Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, who had surged to the front first, to win in six hours 29 minutes 49 seconds.


Abdoujaparov placed second and Italian Stefano Colage was third.


Spain's Miguel Indurain finished in the main peloton and retained his leader's yellow jersey with just three stages left before the three-week race finishes Sunday in Paris.


Indurain is virtually assured of his fifth consecutive Tour victory.


"I'm so happy to win my second stage today," said Zabel. "I was so fast. I feel it was a great performance."


The riders still had thoughts of Fabio Casartelli, who died in a crash in Tuesday's 16th stage in the Pyrenees. The entire pack gave up Wednesday's stage to Casartelli's Motorola teammates in an emotional gesture.


The race has another flat stage Friday, 167 kilometers from Montpon-Menesterol to Limoges, before an individual time trial Saturday and Sunday's leg ending in the French capital.


Meanwhile Italian senators Wednesday introduced a bill to enforce use of helmets by professional cyclists in Italian races. Senator Sergio Chiesa called on all countries to adopt such a law. (Reuters, AP)