News and Race Reports for August 30

Tour du Poitou-Charentes Open

Stage 1, 22 August 95, Lusignan--Cognac, 164 kms:
  1. Pretot (Fr, GAN)       3.31.59
  2. McRae (USA, amateur)       +??
  3. Derame (Fr, GAN)            +7 secs
  4. Roux (Fr, Castorama)       +12
  5. Aubier (Fr, GAN)           s.t.
  6. N. Jalabert (Fr, Mutuelle de Seine-et-Marne)  +33
  7. Michaelsen (Den, Festina)  +45
  8. Currit (Fr, GAN)           +47
  9. Manin (Fr, Chazal)         +49
 10. Liewsin (USA, amateur)     s.t.

The crucial break, consisting of Roux (Castorama), Namtvedt (Norway),
Evanshine, Liewsin and McRae (USA), Nicolas Jalabert (Mutuelle de
Seine-et-Marne), Manin (Chazal), Aubier, Currit, Derame and Pretot (GAN),
Hodge and Michaelsen (Festina) and Pichon (Fr, amateur) had a lead of 1.50
at 95km and later a maximum of 5.50. The GAN riders in the break made the
pace, gradually shelling out riders, including Jalabert and Michaelsen.
Finally Pretot took off alone....


Desperately Seeking Bjarne

Marc Madiot, the ostensible directeur-sportif of a new French team
sponsored by French lottery La Francaise des Jeux is facing a crisis which
may lead to the team folding before it begins. With the brief of finding a
leader capable of performing well in the major Tours he first turned his
attention to Richard Virenque, Laurent Jalabert and Luc Leblanc. But
Virenque is well ensconsed at Festina, Jalabert has re-signed for ONCE and
Leblanc, who showed an initial interest in the new team, has chosen Polti

The sort of rider Madiot requires, who is contractually available, is thin
on the ground. What it has boiled down to is that Madiot must attract
Bjarne Riis or lose the support of the sponsors. Riis, who, as I reported a
few days ago, may also be sought by Banesto, has ridden for French teams
before (Toshiba in 1988...with Madiot, Super U in 1989 and Castorama in
1990 and 1991 with Fignon). Madiot met with Riis and his business manager
Monday in Paris and had cordial discussions, but Riis said he required a
fortnight to make up his mind. The sponsors would like an earlier decision.
Madiot is still optimistic...


World Championship Teams

The French team for the World Championships road race on 8 October has been
Richard Virenque, Laurent Brochard, Pascal Herve, Jean-Cyril Robin
(Festina), Laurent Madouas, Bruno Thibout (Castorama), Yvon Ledanois (GAN),
Lylian Lebreton (Aubervilliers 93-Peugeot) and Gerard Rue (Banesto) are
definites. Three further riders will be chosen from Laurent Roux, Thierry
Laurent (Castorama), and Didier Rous and Jean-Francois Bernard (Chazal).

A first group of these will go to Colorado on 18 September for altitude
training, moving on to Colombia on the 30th. The second group, riders
taking part in the Vuelta, notably Virenque, Herve, Rous and Ledanois will
leave France on 27 September.

The Belgian contingent for the race selected by Eddy Merckx is even smaller
than announced earlier consisting of only seven riders (of 12 allowed):
Peter Farazijn, Nico Mattan, Kurt Van de Wouwer (Lotto), Luc Roosen, Wim
Vansevenant, Geert Verheyen (Vlaanderen 2002) and Marc Streel (Saxon)

In the Netherlands, Gerrie Knetemann only has five riders at his disposal
for the road race at the moment, but hopes to find another two after the
Tour of the Netherlands. The five are Eddy Bouwmans, Erik Dekker, Michael
Boogerd (Novell), Maarten Den Bakker (TVM) and Raymond Mays (Asfra). In
addition, Frans Maassen (Novell) and Servais Knaven (TVM) will ride the
time trial.


2. Tour of the Netherlands

Tour of the Netherlands (2), 165 kms, 23 Aug 95:
  1. Jeroen Blijlevens (Netherlands-TVM)           03:34:52
  2. Wilfried Nelissen (Belgium-Lotto)
  3. Erik Zabel (Germay-Telekom)
  4. Maurizio Tomi (Italy-Aki)
  5. Djamolidine Abdujaparov (Uzbekistan-Novell)
  6. Jan Svorada (Slovakia-Lampre)
  7. Stephen Swart (New Zealand-Motorola)
  8. Fabio Baldato (Italy-MG-Technogym)
  9. Henk Vogels (Australia-Novell)
 10. Servais Knaven (Netherlands-TVM)               all s.t.

General Classification (2):
  1. Blijlevens                                      8:56:10
  2. Nelissen                                            +14 secs.
  3. Abdujaparov                                        0:17
  4. Zabel                                              0:19
  5. Knaven                                             0:20
  6. Svorada                                            0:22
  7. Frans Massen (Netherlands-Novell)                  0:22
  8. Tomi                                               0:23
  9. Baldato                                            0:23
 10. Swart                                              0:23


3. New Speed Record!

   23 Aug 95 -- At Brooklands, Surrey, 37-year-old Bruce Bursford (U.K.)
today set a new bicycle world speed record of 207.9 miles per hour. The
previous record was 152 mph. The event was staged on a rolling road inside
the Malcolm Campbell building at the birthplace of British motorsport and
aviation. The record speed was attained during a half-minute interval with
Bursford reaching 60mph in two seconds at the start of the attempt. (Wow!
   Bursford's bike, a Lola Ultimate*, costs 1 million pounds, weighs 11
pounds, and has a theoretical top speed of 250 miles per hour. Although the
frame material is not specifically cited, reports say the bike is
fabricated by a process of "cooking" under pressure in an oven. (Hey,
that's all was said. -M.T.) All metal components are machined from titanium
and aircraft-grade aluminium. Ceramic bearings, producing 30% less friction
than conventional bearings, are used and a specially developed "Friction
Killer" developed by Anglo-American Oil Company, cuts friction by almost
90%, greatly contributing to the bike's ability to achieve high speeds.
   The high-geared exotic bikes are now on the market at 10,000 pounds
each. Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman wants one and the American
Olympic team is also interested.
   Bursford trained for four hours a day to build up his stamina. His
trainer, Cefyn Lloyd, from Barnham Broom, Norwich, now plans to ride
pillion on a tandem version of the bike to set another record with

* Lola builds Indycars for U.S. auto racing. Nigel Mansell won the 1994
Indycar championship in a Lola.

Transfer Information

The transfer mill is in full swing now so I thought I'd do a quick report
detailing the latest moves for next season.

TVM have been fairly busy having signed Vladimir Pulnikov from Telekom,
where he has had a disappointing season. They, TVM, are also favourites
to sign Erik Breukink who is set to be released by ONCE.

The exodus from Novell has begun as Jan Raas has yet to find a sponsor
for next season. Viatcheslav Ekimov, the only Novell rider who has really
earnt his wages this season, has signed for Telekom. Motorola are keen to
sign Leon Van Bon from Novell, proving yet again that if you want to ride
for Motorola all you have to do is win a stage at the Tour DuPont.

Marc Madiot's new team, Les Francais des Jeux, are rumoured to be close to
clinching the signatures of Denmark's top two riders, Rolf Sorensen and
Bjarne Riis. This would be an interesting combination as their is not a
lot of love lost between these two apparently. Riis would be the leader
in the major Tours whilst Sorensen would lead the team in the spring
classics. However, Madiot's team are facing something of a crisis as the
sponsors want a high profile rider who is likely to do well in the Tour de
France. If Riis doesn't sign then the sponsors may well pull out. Madiot has
already failed to sign Jalabert, Virenque and Leblanc. The loss of Leblanc
was a major blow as he chose to go to Polti rather than stay in France.

It would appear that Piotr Ugromov will ride alongside Miguel Indurain at
Banesto next year. The final details of the contract are apparently being
agreed at the moment and the Latvian is likely to sign in the next few
days. Gewiss were keen to keep him but he demanded that Evgeni Berzin be
released by the team and the team's management weren't prepared to meet
this demand.

More Tour of the Netherlands

Tour of the Netherlands (3-a)*, 104 kms, 24 Aug 95:
  1. Wilfred Nelissen	BEL	Lotto		      ??:??:??
  2. Tom Steels	 BEL	Vlaanderen 2002	       +??
  3. Jeroen Blijlevens	NHL	TVM	             s.t.


Tour of the Netherlands (3-b), 21 kms ITT, 24 Aug 95:
  1. Vjatceslav Ekimov (Russia-Novell)                   24:33
  2. Erik Breukink (Netherlands-Mixed team)                +10 secs.
  3. Flavio Vanzella (Italy-MG-Technogym)                 0:18
  4. Rolf Sorensen (Denmark-MG-Technogym)                 0:36
  5. Aitor Garmendia (Spain-Banesto)                      0.36
  6. Jelle Nijdam (Netherlands-TVM)                       0:36
  7. Zenon Jaskula (Poland-Aki)                           0:37
  8. Rolf Jaermann (Switzerland-MG-Technogym)             0:40
  9. Clark Sheehan (U.S.-Montgomery)                      0:43
 10. Frans Maassen (Netherlands-Novell)                   0:51

G.C. (4):
  1. Breukink                                       11:35:08
  2. Ekimov                                              +01 sec.
  3. Vanzella                                           0:19
  4. Nijdam                                             0:26
  5. Sorensen                                           0:37
  6. Garmendia                                          0:37
  7. Jaskula                                            0:38
  8. Maassen                                            0:40
  9. Jaermann                                           0:41
 10. Sheehan                                            0:44

* Provided by Andy Powers


3. Paris-Brest-Paris

Loudeac, central Britanny, France.
Tuesday 22 August.

It is now about 1.30pm here in Britanny. The first riders passed through the
control at Loudeac at 10.30 this morning. This group left Paris, about 250
miles away, at 8pm yesterday. The very first arrival was actually a faired
recumbent, which had many of the spectators muttering - eventually generally
accepted that even if it is within the regulations it was not really a 'velo'

A few minutes later a lone rider appeared and within a very short time a
leading group of maybe 15 or 20 riders appeared, moving very fast. They were
all off their bikes, registered at the control, bladders emptied (not always
discreetly, very 'continental' :-)  and back on route within minutes. It was
pandemonium - helpers shouting in a variety of languages, riders literally
*running* from their bikes (which had to be left at barriers some yards away)
to the control room where each must register their arrival. This after riding
all night, some 250 miles. These people are serious! In some cases the
mechanical attention was like a motor racing pit stop - at least one rider had
both wheels changed to give fresh tyres.

AFAIK the current record holder, Scott Dixon (43hrs 20mins for the 750 miles,
1200Km) was in the lead group. I did not get any other names but there was
also at least one woman rider.

Loudeac is roughly 1/3 of the way, 2/3 on the return. I plan to go back this
evening to see the race group return after having covered a further 250 miles
since this morning with another 250 to go...

One more thing that may be of interest. As well as the traditional race card
which must be stamped,each rider has a small plastic id card. There are three
swipe-card terminals at the control, linked to a PC so immediate and accurate
information and records are kept. There is also a modem although I did not ask
what particular function this is used for. Presumably it is to keep in touch
with the event HQ and perhaps the other control stations as well.

The control station was fairly quiet this morning. The main body of riders,
nearly 3000 of them, will be arriving later on and all day tomorrow. I've
spectated at some long-distance events before, such as the British 24 Hour
time-trial championship (over 500 miles for the winner) and have seen riders
on solo record attempts such as the Lands End to John O'Groats 'End-to-End'
(approx 850 miles in under 48 hours) but this is something else again, both in
terms of scale and atmosphere. Chapeau to the lot of them!


The lead group has split into two. The first group of eight, including Dixon,
arrived at 10.05pm and were back on the road by 10.15. One rider set off
first, some minutes before Dixon and the others. This rider is known at
present only as 'le grand espagnol', the big spaniard. Getting names would not
be easy, the control is now very busy. One rider who had been with the lead
group but was taking an extended break said that Dixon was going well but that
the Spanish rider is very strong.

Riders are now arriving in a steady stream. One of the most unusual HPVs was a
three-wheeled tandem recumbent (no fairing) which excited a lot of interest.
The riders (american, I think) got a big hand of applause as they set off
again into the night. Many riders are now sleeping, their are lines of foil
survival blankets under the trees. Many riders have fallen asleep at the table
after eating.

Most people look surprisingly well but some arrive looking very distressed or
just simply weary. Loudeac is 441 Km from the start and the mid-point at Brest
is a further 163Km. The leading racers had therefore covered 767Km, say 480
miles, in 26 hours. This allows just over 17 hours to match the current record
over a distance of around 275 miles which took 14 hours on the way out
yesterday. They have covered the middle 200 miles in less than twelve hours.
The record seems possible, as does a third victory for Dixon.


This info is from a hand-written notice at the Loudeac control:

The leading nine riders reached the final control at 15.20 on wednesday, a
time of 43h 20 mins, beating the record by 30 mins.

The leading woman, Brigitte Kerlouet (a Breton) arrived at 16.04, setting a
new woman's time of 44h 04 mins.

That was the only 'official' info I could get. I spoke to a couple of 'Team
America' support crew (who were pretty spaced out with lack of sleep so I
didn't stay too long but did get some info). They believe that since none of
the lead group could get away from each other that there had been a sort of
truce based on mutual respect and support for each other. All have been
registered with the same finish time and there is no single rider in first

Concerning the time, I had read in a local paper here that the existing record
was already 43.20 - either this was an error or the news that the record is
broken is mistaken. Also, according the local press, the riders lost an hour
on the outward run through going off course.

Brigitte Kerlouet's time is outstanding, being only 44 mins behind the
leading men. (According to local press, the previous record was held by an
American, Suzan Notorangelo, in 53h 40). She is the sister of one of
Britanny's leading riders, Dominic Le Bon, current amateur road race champion
of Brittany (ie one of the best riders you're likely to find in the world
outside the very top echelons of the european pro scene).

Scott Dickson was in the lead group. 'Le grand Espagnol' who tried to take a
lead from Loudeac on the return leg is Louis Ponzi and is AFAIK actually a
Basque (i.e. from the ancient and distinct race and culture of the Euskadi, or
Basque peoples, of northern Spain and south western France).

The rider of the HPV who came into Loudeac first was Pete Penseyres, from

The weather: as many locals jokingly say, the only time it has rained in
Britanny this summer was during the Tour prologue... an exageration, but with
some truth. Tuesday was hot. Yesterday was much cooler, warm of course but
cloudy and a bit close and airless at times but not too bad. There has been
only slight wind, from what I've heard there is a slight tail wind from Brest
(prevailing winds tend to be from the southwest and the route is essentially
eastwards return to Paris). My guess is that it will not have impeded riders
on the outward run too much. Today, thursday a.m., it is warm and still with
light cloud cover. By now all riders will have begun the return trip since it
is well over 48 hours since the last groups began (5am tuesday) and the time
limit is 90 hours.

G.P. Eddy Merckx

   * Winner Johan Museeuw commented: "I wanted to finish in the top three
although time trials are certainly not my speciality. But I found extra
strength when I learned I was fastest after the first kilometers...I'm in
extraordinary shape for the moment, everything goes so smoothly."

   * Museeuw led at all check points.

   * Regarding his decision not to attend the world championships, Museeuw
said: "To go to Colombia would be too heavy. The circuit and (the situation
in) the country frighten me."

   * Third-placed Tony Rominger commented: "I thought I wouldn't finish in
the top 10. I haven't been training after the Tour de France apart from a
dozen of (small local races), I'm very surprised."


Grand Prix Eddy Merckx, 63 kms ITT, 27 Aug 95:
  1. Johan Museeuw (Belgium)        01:17:36
  2. Johan Bruyneel (Belgium)            +34 secs.
  3. Tony Rominger (Switzerland)          38
  4. Andrea Chiurato (Italy)            1:48
  5. Bjarne Riis (Denmark)              2:41
  6. Rolf Aldag (Germany)               2:43
  7. Edwig Van Hooydonck (Belgium)      3:31
  8. Pascal Lance (France)              4:17
  9. Axel Merckx (Belgium)              4:33
 10. Vladislav Bobrik (Russia)          4:44
 12. Sean Yates                         ?:??


World Cup track meeting in Manchester

   Marty Nothstein won the final of the men's sprint. Nothstein beat
Denmark's Lars Brian Nielsen in two straight rides.
   In the final of the women's sprint, France's Felicia Ballanger needed
only two rides to beat Canada's 1993 world champion Tanya Dubnicoff.
   Bruno Risi, of Switzerland, who will be defending his world title in
Colombia next month, lapped the field on his way to victory in the 30 kms
points race.
   Italy's Antonella Bellutti won the women's 3,000m pursuit.
   Germany's Christian Lademann, Ronny Lauke, Thorsten Rund and Heiko Szonn
set the fastest time ever seen in Britain -- 4mins 12.033secs -- with their
victory in the 4,000m team pursuit.


AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR C'SHIPS (Criterium) at Harndorf, SA:

U-17 (30 mins.): B.Brooks (NSW), N.Brown (WA), T.Kersten (NSW)
U-15 (20 mins.): B.Kersten (NSW), D.Lopez (NSW), A.Cox (NSW)

U-17 (30 mins.): P.Coxon (NSW), J.Robinson (SA), N.Bates (NSW)
U-15 (20 mins.): R.Gilmore (NSW), B.Symes (NSW), K.Johnson (NSW)

Final medal count: NSW 28 (9 gold, 7 silver, 12 bronze), ACT 3 (2 gold, 1
silver), SA 3 (1 gold, 2 silver), Vic 1 (silver), WA 1 (silver).