News for April 20

Andrea Tafi

There is a rider profile in April's Cycle Sport on Andrea Tafi.
For those who don't receive it, the following paragraph is 
illuminating, especially in the aftermath of scandalous end
to Paris-Roubaix.

The profile says:

Tafi is PR's dream when talking about his team. 

"The organisation is perfect. We have absolutely everything we 
need. It really makes you want to do the best you can." 

Is there not a problem with the number of riders?

"Sure, there are a lot of us, but everyone has their chance and has a
job to do. One of our strengths is that we are united. [Bill collapsing
here when I think back to last weekend and the footage I have seen on
the arguments over the last kms]. There is no room for jealousy at

How does he keep the egos in check?

In another story from April Cycle Sport, There is an article on 
Patrick Lefevere and they ask how does he keep all the egos in check.

The writer (Kenny Pryde) asks whether Johan Museeuw is still secure in
his position as "Klassieker kopman" (topman in the classics)? On paper
it doesn't look like it.

"Just to make ...Lefevere's job a little more complicated, Johan Museeuw
made some potentially inflammatory comments at the start of the year which
might yet undermine team cohesion when the chips are down. It turns out 
that in February mild-mannered superman Museeuw told Belgian journalists
that he would be going for it on a more regular basis in the Classics."

He said "there will be no more gifts. A career is too short and I'll be 
riding for myself more this year. Look at the finale of San Sebastian
last year when my team-mate Stefano Della Santa rode to the finish with
Lance Armstrong who beat him easily in the sprint. He should have sat
on him - I won the sprint for third if you remember and I reckon I could
have won the race if it had come to a sprint. This year I'll be going 
for a win in Flanders - and Roubaix."

Pryde continues "And let us not forget that ..Bortalami is back to health
and fitness after being released to a supporting role last season. So,
with a pumped up Museeuw and a resurgent Bortalami, all you need to do
is add impetuous ..Vandenbroucke and new joker Tom Steels and you
wonder how Mapei can avoid internecine warfare in the Roubaix showers."

"Unsurprisingly, Lefevere considers this state of affairs as more
of a bonus than a problem and, as complications go, you have to admit
that it's not the worst one to be faced with when you are a team
manager. Lefevere says that 'These are professional riders we are dealing 
with here. If they aren't happy with the team they can go elsewhere - to
a smaller team, because Mapei is the biggest team in the sport. The other 
thing you need to remember is that some of these riders have been 
together since 1992 and they are friends, they know each other. Our
strength is that we can work together, we are a team.'"

On Museeuw, Lefevere said "I don't know about that. First of all when you
are the best team in the sport and you win a lot, journalists get bored
very quickly. They are always looking for scandal, looking to write and 
interesting story. I understand that Johan wasn't happy after San 
Sebastion, but did he know about the work Ballerini did for him in the 
Tour of Flanders last year when he chased down dangerous riders in the 
finale? I'm not sure. I think the journalists were making the most
out of that story."

Aren't there any problems with who will win? Lefevere: "No, the riders 
realise that the team is more important that any individual. The 
important thing is that the team wins, not that Museeuw wins everything
or Ballerini."

How does he keep the team in line then? Lefevere: "My secret? Maybe, I'm
a good diplomat.