News and Race Reports for August 18 1995
1. Stone Mountain Velodrome
Dale Hughes painted the hundreds of metal parts of his Olympic cycling
track red, green, and blue because he wanted it to look like a giant
That's basically what it is.
At the base of Stone Mountain, Hughes and his four-man crew are bolting the
75 tons of steels pieces into what looked like a ride at Six Flags, with
waffled ramps forming a wicked curve angling 45 degrees.
There's a kind of carnival air to the project, no heavy talk of Olympic
legacy. Because after the Games, this venue will leave in the same fashion
it arrived: on five flatbed trucks.
A portable velodrome has been a dream for the past quarter century for
Hughes, a boyish 45-year-old who is part Greg LeMond, part P.T. Barnum. "A
little bit of destiny" brought him to Atlanta, he says.
A cyclist and sports promoter from Michigan, Hughes fervently believes that
a movable cycling oval can help re-create the popularity of cycling that
swept the country earlier this century and still lives in Europe.
So six monthes ago, when Atlanta Olympic officials decided that the
traditional drawings by a prestigious West German velodrome designer cost
too much, Hughes entered. His pitch was simple: Have velodrome, will
Only there was no velodrome yet. the one that he had in mind -- and in a
computer -- had never been built before. But his sales job worked. ACOG
officials are convinced that this velodrome will be state of the art, and
leasing it saves them millions of dollars. Now, organizers can put on
cycling events for $1 million to $2 million, instead of three times that
amount. They decided early on against a permanent facility because not
enough cyclists would support it.
"We couldn't see building something made of rare abzalea wood from the
African rain forest that we'd burn up afterward," said ACOG project manager
Disk West, describing how a traditional velodrome is built. "The
international cycling federation is not really crazy about it, because
we're bucking the good ol' boys. They have not and cannot disapprove of it,
but they have said they are nervous using a surface that has never been
used before. We hope after the cyclists see it, they will feel as excited
about it as we are."
The world's best track cyclists will compete on the uncovered, 250-meter
oval the size of a football field. Hughes said they will set record times
because of the dimpled, 11-layer plywood surface and perfectly engineered
curves. The laminated surface, similar to kitchen linoleum, is not likely
to chip after a crash, and rain can be wiped off it quickly. It's much
softer to fall on than concrete.
If Hughes' baby is causing any anxiety among cyclists, it's not showing.
They say they'll wait and see how the track performs.
A test event, the Atlanta Cycling Invitational in mid-October, "must
confirm the quality and technical characteristics of the new surface and we
hope to have positive results," said Miron Baramia, technical delegate of
the Union Cycliste Internationale, the worldwide federation for the sport
based in Switzerland.
"We accepted this decision" by ACOG to have a temporary facility, Baramia
said. "Now, the most important [thing] is to have a good track for the
Some cyclists wish that a permanent indoor velodrome would be left after 1996.
"A covered facility would give us more peace of mind that the  events
would not be dependent on weather, and we would love to leave Atlanta with
a permanent legacy after the Olympics," said Lisa Voight, executive
director of the U.S. Cycling Federation.
When the Olympics are over, Hughes will break apart the velodrome, load it
up, and cart it somewhere else -- perhaps a city hosting the Goodwill Games
or the U.S. Olympic Festival. Only with more rentals, or a permanent home,
will he recoup the nearly $1 million he will put into it.
His career as a vagabond cycling booster began in 1971 on a vacation to
Nice, France. The city shut down for a cycling meet, 100,000 people watched
and he was hooked.
Back home, he opened a bike shop and researched the sport. He discovered it
was so popular in the 1920s that arenas such as Madison Square Garden in
New York were built with steep seating so fans could see cyclists circle,
sometimes in team races that lasted for days. The infield was the place to
be, the Hard Rock Cafe of the cycling world.
In the 1980s, he built his first portable track. He showed it off in meets
in Denver and other cities and in a Walter Matthau movie called "Little
Miss Marker." Then thieves drove off with the three trucks where he stored
the $200,000 uninsured structure. After he got over the loss, he started
designing a new, improved model.
Hughes hooked up with engineer Chris Nodovich, also a cyclist, who likened
the shape of the velodrome to the radars he has designed for the
government. They used computers to draw the 238 trusses that support the
track. The computer helped them achieve a "zero bubble tolerance," a term
they stole from Cold War submarine flicks that means that the track is
perfectly level. Most tracks have a microscopic incline that can add
mill-seconds to the cyclists' times.
A construction consultant reviewed their design to see if it indeed could
be built, and, in a gorgeous vale at the floor of Stone Mountain, they're
finding out how it all fits together. The other three people building it
also are cyclists. One, Tom Bogrette, has been working despite a collar
bone broken in a mountain bike accident.
"The unknown is always something that makes people hesitant, and there's a
lot on the line for all of us as we break new territory," Hughes said.
"Probably to another contractor, this would be just another job. But there
are only two ways to get into the Olympics, and I'm not blessed enough to
get a good enough body to be an athlete. For me, this is the ultimate."
2. Racing News
Tour du Limousin, Stage 1 (15 August 95)
Laurent Madouas began the action when he broke clear just after the first
difficulty, the cote de Bersac (km34), building a lead of 56 secs before
being reeled in. Didier Rous took the next chance profiting from an easing
off in the peloton at km70. He had a lead of 1.42 by km87. Twenty-two
riders then took off in pursuit of Rous, including Tchmil, Van der Poel,
Madouas, Thibout, Lance and Halgand. They caught Rous and the peloton, more
than 6 minutes back by km118, capitulated, effectively leaving the race's
likely overall outcome in the hands of the 23 escapees. Six rider broke
clear of the 23 -- Rous, Kasputis, Maignan, Thibout, Audehm and Vogels and
later another four bridged up to them -- Tchmil, Ullrich, Madouas and
Desbiens. Rous then went off the front again taking Kasputis with him.
Kasputis, however, gave him very little help, saying later that Rous was
far too strong for him. But 19km from the line Rous was caught by Tchmil,
Ulrich, Vogels and Madouas and Tchmil took the sprint.
1. Tchmil (Rus, Lotto) 165km in 4.09.48
2. Ulrich (Ger, Telekom)
3. Vogels (Neth? Aus?, -- L'Equipe says Bel!, Novell)
4. Rous (Fr, GAN) all same time
5. Kasputis (Lit, Chazal) +3 secs
6. Desbiens (Fr, Castorama) +10
7. Thibout (Fr, Castorama) same time
8. Madouas (Fr, Castorama) +21
9. Halgand (Fr, Festina) +1.34
10. Pontier (Fr, Auberviliers-Peugeot 93)
11. Pillon (Fr, Mutuelle de Seine-et-Marne)
12. Audehm (Ger, Telekom)
13. Maignan (Fr, Mutuelle de Seine-et-Marne)
14. Lance (Fr, GAN) all same time
15. Devries (Neth, Novell) +1.38
16. Mulders (Neth, Novell) +1.41
17. Feys (Bel, Vlaanderen 2002) same time
Tour of Galicia
Notes on stage 1. Indurain profited from a break by Den Bakker and Anguita.
He then put down the hammer in the last 50km, riding the two 3rd category
climbs on the big ring when everyone else had to resort to the small one --
only Den Bakker was able to stay with him.
Stage 2 (15 August 95)
1. Max Van Heeswijk (Neth, Motorola) 191.3km in 4.36.37
2. Jalabert (Fr, ONCE)
3. Fagnini (It, Mercatone)
4. Bartoli (It, Mercatone)
5. Anguita (Sp, Castellblanch)
6. Den Bakker (Neth, TVM)
7. Rodriguez Gil (Sp, Santa Clara)
8. Olano (Sp, Mapei)
9. Hamburger (Den, TVM)
10. Indurain (Sp, Banesto) all same time
Overall (with bonifications)
1. Indurain 7.3.18
2. Den Bakker +1 sec
3. Fernandez (Sp, Mapei) +4.20
4. Anguita +4.21
5. Mauri (Sp, ONCE) +4.24
6. Van Heeswijk +5.35
7. Jalabert +5.42
8. Bottaro (It, Gewiss) +5.43
9. Fagnini (It, Mercatone) +5.44
10. Tebaldi (It, festina) +5.45
Stage 3 (Aug 16), Boiro--Vigo 186km
1. Laurent Jalabert (France-ONCE) 4.50.42
2. Max Van Heeswijk (Netherlands-Motorola)
3. Adriano Baffi (Italy-Mapei)
4. Peter Van Petegem (Belgium-TVM)
5. Michele Bartoli (Italy-Mercatone)
6. Giorgio Furlan (Italy-Gewiss)
7. Abraham Olano (Spain-Mapei)
8. Jose Santamaria (Spain-Artiach)
9. Marcoa Serrano (Spain-Kelme)
10. Dario Bottaro (Italy-Gewiss) all same time
1. Miguel Indurain (Spain-Banesto) 11.54.00
2. Maarten Den Bakker (Netherlands-TVM) +1 sec
3. Manuel Fernandez (Spain-Mapei) +4.20
4. Eleuterio Anguita (Spain-Castellblanch) 4:21
5. Melcior Mauri (Spain-ONCE) 4:24
6. Jalabert 5:29
7. Van Heeswijk 5:32
8. Gian Fagnini (Italy-Mercatone) 5:42
9. Bottaro same time
10. Valerio Tebaldi (Italy-Festina) 5:45
The Coppa Agostoni, on the calendar for 15 August 95, was run off today, 16
August. Likewise, the Coppa Bernocchi moves forward one day to tomorrow ,
17 August. The Three Valleys of Varese race holds to its original position
on the calendar, 18 August 95.
Gewiss's loss may be Banesto's gain
Gewiss directeur-sportif Emmanuele Bombini is worried. He's just had
it from Piotr Ugrumov, second in the 1994 Tour de France, third in the
Giro 1995, that he won't be in a position to stay in the team. "He
imposed an unacceptable condition on me," said Bombini. "Namely the
departure of Berzin, who is under contract until the end of 1996. So
it's better for him and me that we part company as friends."
Ugrumov is not the only Gewiss to be at the end of a contract. Bjarne
Riis, third in the Tour this year, is in the same position and is also
heavily in demand in the market. It's no secret that Banesto manager
Jose-Miguel Echavarri is very interested in acquiring one or the other
of these riders. With what goal in mind?
First of all, Banesto is reducing its strength from 23 riders to 18
next season. It will probably lose Aparicio (one of Indurain's best
team-mates in the 1995 Tour), Miranda, Montoya and Zarrabeitia. The
fruit of Amaya's merger with Banesto, these four will likely follow
Javier Minguez, who is to become a sort of Echavarri-style
super-manager with Kelme. Banesto is also going to lose Angel-Luis
Casero, the winner of the 1994 Tour de l'Avenir, who is signing with
ONCE. So it will be necessary to beef up the Banesto team with an eye
to the 1996 Tour and also to find a second leader for the events
Indurain isn't going to ride. The American Hampsten, recruited for
this reason, has completely failed in this task this year.
Appeals to teams to ride from race organisers are the second reason.
To outsiders ifn effect Banesto has done badly in the absence of its
team leader. That could be the case in the Vuelta a Espana to which
Indurain is still hesitant to commit himself, and a lot of ink was
spilt over his non-appearance in the Giro. The arrival of someone like
Ugrumov, for all that he's 34, would do a great deal to alleviate this
problem. Bjarne Riis, 32, would also throw some useful weight into the
balance. They've both demonstrated that they could win a major Tour.
With such reinforcement Indurain could then prepare in all serenity
for his major objective -- the Tour de France -- leaving it to his
deputy to ride the Giro or the Vuelta.
Last week the Banesto manager went on a business trip to Italy where
he had dinner with Moreno Argentin, the future general manager of ZG
Mobili (for which Fondriest will ride) who's also interested in
Ugrumov or Riis. Echavarri didn't come home the conquistador. On the
contrary all that he'd vouchsafe at this stage about Ugrumov was that
There remains, then, if the Ugrumov route is blocked, the Bjarne Riis
solution for Echavarri. Riis himself is not to be had at
bargain-basement prices, but the Spanish bank's team, which this year
had a budget of 80 million French francs, the biggest in the peloton,
has the means to do the deal.