See the Maglia Rosa change hands no less than eight times on the road to Milan. Battle commences right from the start when pre-race favourite Alex Zulle takes the prologue time-trial. In the first mountain test at Lago Laceno, Zulle lives up to his billing as the man to watch, but his hold on the lead is far from secure and as the race enters its final and phenomenally mountainous week Marco Pantani makes his move. Only Guiseppi Guerini can stay ith
The Pirate at Val Gardena. Only 1996 winner Pavel Tonkov can deny him the following day at Alpe Ampeago, but the little climbing magician proves too strong for everyone at Montecampione where he all but wraps up his first major tour win with a superb solo victory. going into the final time-trial, Pantani`s lead is just a minute on Tonkov but, cheered on by thousands of fervent fans, the Italian delivers the time-trial performance of his life and a crushing blow to Tonkov who has to settle for second overall for the second year in a row.