News for December 22

Dutch awards

In the Netherlands the union of professional cyclists (VVBW-Vereiniging voor Beroepswielrenners) has chosen Jeroen Blijlevens as "Rider of the year". The TVM-rider won 9 international races in 1995, among them a stage in the Tour de France.

Danny Nelissen, amateur world champion, was best amateur rider. Next year he will be professional again with the Rabobank-team.

Debby Mansveld won the award as best female rider.

Fred Rompelberg, new holder of the speed record, got a special mention for his presentation.

Schedule World championships 1996 Lugano

Wednesday Oct. 9

  1. Time trial Under 23, 30,4 km.
  2. Time Trial Women 25,8 km.

Thursday Oct. 10

  Individual time trial, Elite, 46 km.

Saturday Oct 12

  1. Road race Under 23; 10 laps of the 16,8 km circuit - 168 km
  2. Road race Women; 6 laps - 100.8 km

Sunday Oct 13

  Road race Elite; 15 laps - 252 km.

Worlds Road Races 1996

A little more information on next year's Worlds road events in Lugano (October 9, time trials for Espoirs [30.4km] and Women [25.8km]; October 10, time trial for Elite [46km]; October 12, road races for Espoirs [168km] and Women [100.8km]; October 13, road race for elite (252km).

The road race circuit is 15 laps of 16.8 km taking in the Lugano town centre and two separate climbs, the frst being 2.8km at a maximum 10% and the second being the Crespera, where Fausto Coppi sealed his victory in the worlds 42 years ago.

"The chief characteristic," says local rider Mauro Gianetti, who helped plan the course, "is that the circuit includes two climbs and not one as in previous years [when the worlds was held here -- Coppi's victory and Eddy Merckx's in 1972]. It's a course for a complete rider of the Fondriest or Jalabert type who knows how to make the difference in a short climb. Whatever happens, it will be difficult to control the race on this rather 'nervous' course."

Rayner Family Shocked At Verdict

Friends and family of UK pro David Rayner, a former Buckler rider, who died in an incident in a nightclub in Bradford, Yorkshire, UK, in November 1994, were shocked when the nightclub bouncer charged with Rayner's manslaughter, Steven Barry Johnson, walked free after a court hearing on Monday (November 18).

"We arrived at the court for a 10am start, and both sets of lawyers and the judge went into chambers telling us nothing," said David's father John. "After three hours they told us there was not enough evidence to link Johnson with the death of our David."

Nevertheless, Johnson pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault and was put on probation for 12 months and ordered to do 100 hours' community service. Serena, David's wife said: "We have been badly let down by the Crown Prosecution Service."

However, she ruled out further action, saying: "I believe Dave would want us to get on with our lives now but at the end of ayear's wait it is a sad way to end. Just think, his life was worth only 100 hours of community service."

Meanwhile, the first beneficiaries of the fund set up in Rayner's memory to support young British riders racing abroad have been announced. Dave Millar, who will race in France is the principal beneficiary. Support will also be given to Danny Webb, who will race in Belgium or France, Paul Moore, who will return to race in France, and Daniel Moore and Charly Wegelius who will also ride in France.

Vuelta 1996

Full details of the route of the 1996 Vuelta a Espana are yet to be announced, but its start will be in Valencia (7 September).

New Polish Pro Team

A new Polish pro team -- Mroz, named after its principal sponsor, a major cattle-slaughtering company [I jest not -- RT] -- has been annnounced. It will have 12 riders, including Cesary Zamana (ex-Motorola), Jacek Mickiewicz (ex-Rotan) and Andrei Sypytkowski (ex-Rotan).