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Cycling News and Analysis

News for October 14, 1998

Transfers and Contracts

* Johan Bruinsma will ride for Batavus/Bank Giro-loterij next season. This team will be a new small professional cycling team in 1999.

* Ludo Dierckxsens signed for the new Italian-Belgian team of Lampre-Daikin for two years. Ludo, who is nearly 34 years old but who has only been a professional for 4 years, has shown great form this year. He is still under contract with Lotto but he says he has an agreement with the team manager Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke which will allow him to go. He will join the newly crowned World Champion Oskar Camenzind.

* Benjamin Van Itterbeeck won his last race in his career on Monday in Boom. The 1991 Belgian Champion who is now riding as an elite without contract is 34 years old and started in 1987 with the Lotto team. After winning the national title he rode with various teams. Since leaving the professionals in 1997, he has won 43 races. He is now retiring from cycling and looking for a new challenge.

* Frédéric Finot, who is with the amateur team VC Lyon-Vaux-en-Velin will ride with Crédit Agricole next year. The silver medal winner of the U-23 ITT at the Worlds last week in Valkenburg signed a two year contract. After Franck Pencolé, Fréderic Delalande and Jérôme Neuville he is now the fourth Elite 2 rider (Elite without contract) signing for the team of Roger Legeay.

* The 23 year old Christian Charrière from the Riso Scotti Team will ride for the Post Swiss Team next season. His new contract is for one year. In addition, the Post Swiss Team gives has also contracted the 22 year old U-23 rider Cédric Fragnière from the amateur team Bike Store - La Liberté.

* Festina will remain as a French registered team and will not become a Swiss team as earlier announced.

* There is a lot of speculation in the Danish press about Lars Michaelsen apparently finding a hole to sneak through to get out of his contract with TVM (and away from Priem) to ride for La Francaise des Jeux in 1999.

* Mapei team director Patrick Lefèvere was interviewed on Belgian TV and he said that he was sure that Bartoli will join Mapei in 1999, and that he will bring along Tani, Scinto and Bettini. This would make Mapei's team for 1999 something like this (for now): Bartoli, Bettini, Bramati, Chann McRae, Di Grande, Faresin?, Figueras?, Fornaciari, Hoste, Lanfranchi, Leysen, Merckx, Museeuw, Müller, Nardello, Nocentini, Noe, Peeters, Pianegonda, Rodriguez, Scinto, Steels, Tafi, Tani, Tonkov?, Van Heeswijk, Zanini.

Given that there are 27 riders listed, it appears that at least two of the riders with question marks will leave. Lefèvere also said that he hasn't found a co-sponsor yet because he wants a Belgian one and with the recent affair with Farazijn he was afraid to go to potential sponsors.

Belgian rider Leif Hoste (Vlaanderen 2002) signed a two-year contract with Mapei.

* Berry Hoedemakers (AGU) will join the Belgian professional team Spar. He signed for one year with a one year option. He will join another Dutchman 34-year old Michel Cornelisse, who will be remaining with the Spar team.

* ONCE - Abraham Olano has yet to give a definite answer to ONCE, but they are expecting an answer soon and even have laid out the 1999 season counting on the Vasque rider. The biggest novelty of that plan is that he would ride the Tour de France, free of pressure, so he would follow a plan similar to Jalabert or Alex Zülle - the most important races of the calendar, some Classics and as the main race, la Vuelta a España. But to put the plan into action, they need Olano's yes. "We are close to him, but there have been other times when we have been close. We are waiting for his answer to our offer, both money and sporting-wise, which we made him two or three days before the Worlds", explains Pablo Antón, mánager of ONCE.

Antón added that "ONCE is making an effort to sign Abraham, because Manolo Saiz considers him as very important for the new proyect". Olano's signing also has the approval from Laurent Jalabert, "who not only has given the go ahead, but who is thrilled and calls regularly to find out how the matter is going".

ONCE will undergo deep surgery for 1999. Already signed are Serrano, Santos González, Rebollo, Luttenberger and Peron. There will also be departures which will have influence, amongst them Mauri, Mauleón, Díaz de Otazu, Díaz Zabala, Bruyneel, Barrigón and Otxoa.

* It is unlikely that Melchior Mauri will renew with ONCE. His probable destination is the Portuguese Benfica, a new team sponsored by the soccer team with the same name, which is born with high aspirations and as a branch of ONCE. Benfica has already signed two Spaniards: Plaza and López Uriarte.

* Banesto continues to look for reinforcements for 1999. Until now they have only signed Italians Piepoli and Bruseghin, while they will have to do without De las Cuevas, Fernández Ginés, Marino Alonso and presumably Olano. Arrieta might renew. Olano's departure would leave José María Jiménez as team leader, who at this time has one more year in his contract. The intention of Banesto and Jimenez is to revise his current contract (by 80 million pesetas/US$513,000), in exchange for an extension of the contract that will assure his continuity in the team.

Worlds Roundup Begins

Oscar Camenzind was the first Swiss winner of the Professional World Road Championship for 47 years. His average time of 42.8 kph over the 258 kms distance was faster than the previous record set in 1985 by Joop Zoetemelk (Ned) - 41.5 km/h. He said after the race that he had misjudged the effects of the Vuelta on him. He had previously said that it was wrong of Mapei to make him ride the Vuelta with less than 2 days notice. Now he is admitting that it was "the best preparation I could have had."

The 27-year old said of his win in the Worlds that: "I had to risk attacking then because I would have had no chance in a sprint finish. When there was no reaction from the others I knew that I had all the cards in my hand. It is a real honour to follow Ferdi Kuebler on the golden path."

The strong favourite for the race was Michele Bartoli who had a rocky road to his bronze medal - three bike changes, a puncture, a crash and lots of chasing to get back on. He said afterwards that "We did a lot of work but could not catch him. For me it was a pursuit for 200 kms, and when I crashed I hurt myself."

Peter van Petegem, who took the silver in a two-up sprint with Bartoli told the press: "The best man won. We did our best to catch him, but as we closed he made another effort."

And finally Lance Armstrong told the assembled press that: "I had nothing to give when Bartoli and van Petegem attacked. I will never complain again about being fourth. I was most disappointed with fourth in the world time trial championship, but looking back over the last 18 months I really cannot be disappointed. If I had never been sick and had been 100 per cent then I may have been disappointed. Maybe four is my lucky number. I was fourth in the Vuelta, fourth in the world time trial,and fourth today."

Oskar Camenzind Interview

"It is just going crazy" - Reception for the new World Champion

12/10/98 First, an honourable reception for the new Road World Champion Oscar Camenzind at the airport Zurich, later a "Fest" in family style in Gersau: The 27 years old Schwyzer has not (yet) come to rest after his big success.

Q: Oscar Camenzind, after crossing the finish line on Sunday, you still have shaken your head in disbelief. Have you now realised what a big success you have gained?

Camenzind: No, I still haven't got it. I will probably need a few more days.

Q: How did you experience the time after winning the title?

Camenzind: It was an amazing hustle and bustle in Valkenburg. One interview after the other, engagements after engagements. Later on, I have celebrated the victory with the other Swiss (team mates). There was no time for sleep.

Q: And yesterday, the reception at the airport Zurich?

Camenzind: That put everything else into the shadow. Since the arrival in Zurich everything went just crazy. I was so excited to see so many members of my fanclub coming to the airport. I really hope that this excitement will calm down a bit. And my live will come back to normal very soon.

Q: Which impression will especially stuck in your memory.

Camenzind: The congratulations from Ferdi Kuebler on the landing field. Later on, he asked me for an autograph and told me that it was the first time for him to ask another cyclist for an autograph. This is a great gesture. In addition, I am still waiting for my bike I won with on Sunday. After the check in in Brussels it looks that it disappeared.

Q: The image of Swiss cycling was lowered after the revelations of Alex Zuelle, Laurent Dufeaux and Armin Meier. Do you think you will be able to raise it with the title of the World Champion?

Camenzind: Definitely, I hope this title will give Swiss cycling again a boost. This summer many lies about our profession have been distributed. It would be nice if the focus will be redirected towards the sporting success.

Q: The World Champions of the last ten years often had to fight with bad luck in their "ruling" years. Are you worried about this pattern?

Camenzind: No, not at all. Principally, I am a positive thinking person. Such stories will not bother me. Wait and see it next year.

Q: How is your program for the upcoming weeks?

Camenzind: Tomorrow I will be on my way to Italy. There are two more races. On Wednesday Milano-Turin and on Saturday the Tour de Lombardia, the last World Cup race of this season. This is the finale for this year.

Q: Your next goals?

Camenzind: At the moment I do not want to waste any thoughts on this. During the winter I will meet the leaders of my new team Lampre and talk about the goals for 1999. Now, it is too early to say anything.

The interview was conducted by Pascal Meissner/VELOMedia and translated for cyclingnews.com by Heiko Salzwedel.