News for February 3

Copenhagen Six Day Final:

 1. Bruno Risi-Kurt Betschart (Sch)
 2. Silvio Martinello-Marco Villa (Ita)
 3. Jens Veggerby-Jimmi Madsen (Den)

Rankings of Division 1/2 Elite Teams

The UCI has issued the 1996 classification of Division 1 and Division 2 teams. These ratings, based on individual UCI points as of January 15, determine entry to races (see my recent posting "The What's What of Elites and Espoirs" for more details).

In total, 58 teams are listed, but the following is the only information I so far have available. I may be able to fill in the gaps next week Tuesday, when I shall have a full (or fullish) list of Division 1 and 2 team rosters.


 1. Mapei-GB (Italy) 8336
 2. ONCE (Spain) 7115
 3. MG-Technogym (Italy) 6250
 4. Gewiss (Italy) 6204
 5. Banesto (Spain) 4063
 6. Saeco (San Marino) 3780
 7. Motorola (USA) 3650
 8. Carrera (Italy) 3580
 9. Rabobank (Netherlands) 3495
10. Panaria (Italy) 3251
11. Festina (Andorra) 3187
12. Telekom (Germany) 3065
13. Refin (Italy) 3000
14. Polti (Italy) 2910
15. TVM (Netherlands) 2887
16. Roslotto-ZG (Russia) 2670
17. Lotto (Belgium) 2424
18. GAN (France) 2261
19. San Marco (Italy) 2141
20. Kelme-Artiach (Spain) 1699
21. Aki-Gipiemme (Monaco) 1662
22. Brescialat (Italy) 1117


23. Mx Onde (Spain) 916
24. Glacial (Colombia) 881
25. Agrigel-La Creuse (France) 823
26. Collstrop (Belgium) 796
27. Casino -- Cest votre equipe (France) 685
28. Vlaanderen 2002 (Belgium) 599
29. ForceSud (France) 500
30. Saturn (USA) 384
36. Aubervilliers 93-Peugeot (France) 219
41 Mutuelle de Seine-et-Marne (France) 162
(58 teams classified)

Delion Gets A Late Call

Gilles Delion, the 1990 winner of the Giro di Lombardia, has at last found a team for 1996, having recently signed for Monaco-based Aki-Gipiemme. The French rider has had a couple of frustrating seasons with Chazal after difficulties recuperating from illness.

Ferrigato Hors De Combat

Roslotto-ZG sprinter Andrea Ferrigato will be out of action for four months after an operation on his iliac artery.


   By Mike Price

    PARIS, - World Cup winner Luca Bramati of Italy chases a
    cyclo-cross double in Sunday's world championship at
    Montreuil-sous-Bois. His emergence this winter raises Italy's
    hopes to a new peak in a sport traditionally dominated by
    Belgians, Swiss, and Czechs.

    Italy's last gold in top flight racing was 29 years ago when
    Renato Longo won the professional crown, his fifth world title in
    nine years.

    They have also won three amateur championships, the last in 1992
    when Daniele Pontoni extended his domestic domination

    Now Bramati has emerged from Pontoni's shadow and opened this
    season with three straight victories in the World Cup series.

    Their duelling throughout the winter saw Pontoni claim his eighth
    Italian title ahead of Bramati who was seldom out of the first

    Switzerland's Dieter Runkel is the rider they have to beat over a
    parkland course in Montreuil-sous-Bois, a suburb east of Paris. He
    won the title on home ground in heavy going at Eschenbach, but the
    Montreuil circuit is expected to be fast.

    Home advantage may boost the French challenge but Dominique
    Arnould's 1993 title was their first gold since 1967.

    The persistency of Adri van der Poel cannot be overlooked in the
    Netherlands line-up. He has won five silver medals, four of them
    in the last eight years. Richard Groenendaal has taken over that
    role, filling the runner-up spot in the last two years. Either he
    or Wim de Vos could make the breakthrough for the Dutch.

    The Czechs' main challenge rests with Jiri Pospisil, the 1995
    European champion, or Radomir Simunek who in 1991 completed a
    treble, adding the professional title to the amateur and junior
    honours he had taken over 11 years.

    Erwin Vervecken and 1994 No 1 Paul Herijgers are Belgium's best

From Bill Henderson

Pontoni Arrives

    Pontoni finally arrived in Montreuil after delaying his departure
    to have an injured knee attended to.

    He is apparently fit to ride now.

From Bill Henderson


  By Bert Lauwers

    TIELT, Belgium, - Toni Rominger plans to quit cycling at the end
    of this year but has his sights set on a sumptuous farewell
    present -- a first Tour de France victory, another world one-hour
    record, or both. Now in the twilight of his 10-year professional
    career, the 34-year-old Swiss is finally being allowed to focus
    entirely on the Tour de France to try to break the five-year
    stranglehold on the event by Spaniard Miguel Indurain.

    "Even if I don't win, at least I will have taken the risk once
    before retiring," Rominger said.

    But he insists the desire to beat Indurain is not his main driving
    force. "I just want to win the Tour," he said. "But if Indurain
    finishes second it's worth even more."

    Rominger felt he could have won the Tour de France in 1993 when he
    was beaten into second place by Indurain. He dropped out with
    fatigue-induced stomach problems in 1994 and finished a
    disappointing eighth in 1995. "I know I can win the Tour de
    France, I showed it in 1993," said Rominger, who has won 106 races
    as a professional, including the Tour of Spain in 1992, 1993 and
    1994 and the 1995 Tour of Italy. But time is fast running out and
    Rominger says there will be just one more duel with Indurain.

    To help fulfil his French Tour dream, his sponsors and team will
    allow Rominger to skip the Tour of Italy in May despite his
    victory there last year.

    "I suffered too much last year (in the Tour of Italy)," he said.
    "To ride a really good tour you have to be in top shape and be
    very fresh. Otherwise you don't make it."

    Rominger also wants to attack his own world one-hour record after
    this year's world championships and try to win the gold medal in
    the individual time trial at the Atlanta Olympics.

    "I can combine the time trial with the Tour de France," he said.
    But given the choice between an Olympic gold medal and a world
    title, he would prefer the latter, he said.

    Rominger set a one-hour record of 53.832 km in Bordeaux in October
    1994 and increased it to 55.291 two weeks later.

    "I'll try but will stop immediately if I see after the tests,
    after three or four days, that I cannot beat it. It is useless to
    ride just 54," he said.

    "If I prepare better now, if I train on a bigger track, we should
    be able to get further."

    Rominger hinted that he could have a last-minute change of heart
    at the end of this year and prolong his career after all. But his
    plans for that extra year would clearly be less ambitious.

    "If I do add another year I don't want to be a great (team)
    leader," he said. "If I continue I'll do it to help young riders
    get the opportunity to win one of the major tours."

From Bill Henderson

Belluti To Saeco

     Riding the Saeco jersey this year will be Antonella Bellutti,
     silver medallist at the (Womens) Worlds last year in the pursuit.

     [Saeco is headquartered in San Marino, technically an independent
     principality, to avoid UCI rules about the number of pro squads a
     country can field. This is why you see the Monagasque and
     Andorran squads as well. But make no mistake about the true
     nationality of the teams. - Bill Henderson]

     And the men:

       Francesco Casagrande,
       Roberto Petito,

       Di Basco,
       Pascual (Spa),
       Sanchez (Spa),
       Dario Frigo (neoprofessionista),
       Mazzoleni (neo),
       Mori (neo),
       Bischor (Svi, neo),
       Mos (Svi, neo),
       Rodriguez (Spa, neo).

       Franco Gini.

       Antonio Salutini,
       Franco Chioccioli, [Coppino - Remember?]
       Olivano Locatelli,
       Bruno Vicino.


From Bill Henderson


  By Francois Thomazeau

    PARIS, - Can Miguel Indurain achieve what nobody has done before
    and win six Tours de France?

    By winning his fifth consecutive Tour de France last July, the
    Spaniard upstaged Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Bernard
    Hinault, who also won the world's most prestigious cycling race
    five times, but not in succession.

    Even if he fails to win the Tour, Indurain could still make
    history when the professionals take part in the Olympics for the
    first time, 10 days after the French classic finishes.

    Indurain, who has been on the road for the past 13 years, has
    never been more under threat than this season, which begins next
    week in the south of France.

    Compatriot Abraham Olano, the road world champion, Frenchman
    Laurent Jalabert, who became world number one last season, Swiss
    duo Tony Rominger and Alex Zuelle and Russians Yevgeny Berzin and
    Vladislav Bobrik all look capable of upsetting Indurain in the
    most open cycling season for years. For Indurain, it may be above
    all a matter of age.

    The soft-spoken Spaniard will be 32 when the Tour, which should
    favour climbers this year rather than time-trial specialists like
    him, reaches the Pyrenees on July 16.

    Of all the big names in cycling history, only Italian Fausto Coppi
    won the sport's most demanding event at the age of 32. Hinault
    gave up at 31, fellow Frenchmen Anquetil and Louison Bobet at 30,
    Belgium's Merckx and American Greg LeMond at 29.

    For the same reason, the veteran Rominger may find Tour glory
    beyond him. The Swiss, runner-up to Indurain in 1993, will be 35
    when the Tour reaches Paris on July 21. Only one man, Belgian
    Firmin Lambot, was older when he won the race in 1922 at the age
    of 36.

    Rominger, the one-hour world record holder, plans to miss the Tour
    of Italy, which he won last year in Indurain's absence, to
    concentrate on the Tour de France. Indurain will again shun the
    Italian race but may take part in the Tour of Spain.

    It was in the Tour of Spain, the Vuelta, that Jalabert crowned a
    perfect 1995 season and proved he was strong enough to win a big
    tour. The Frenchman, who won Paris-Nice, the International
    Criterium and the Milan-San Remo and Fleche Wallonne classics last
    season, said he would focus on the Tour de France this year.

    His fourth place in Paris last year turned him into the biggest
    threat to Indurain's supremacy.

    It will also be a crucial year for 26-year-old Olano. His victory
    at the world road championship in Colombia last year may turn out
    to have been too much too soon for the Spaniard, who was almost
    unknown at the start of last season.

    But his second place in the Vuelta showed he was a rider to take
    into account in big tours as well. Zuelle, Berzin and Britain's
    Chris Boardman have no time to waste in 1996. Second in the Tour
    of Spain in 1993 and runner-up to Indurain in last year's Tour de
    France, Zuelle must now prove he can go one step further. Berzin,
    winner of the Giro d'Italia in 1994, had a low-key 1995 season.
    But like compatriot Bobrik, widely regarded as cycling's next big
    name, he may favour the Olympics, which have always been a special
    event for the Russians.

    Boardman, whose 1995 season ended in a crash in the Tour de France
    prologue, must prove he has become more than an extraordinary
    track rider. The season starts next Tuesday with the Grand Prix
    d'Ouverture in Aubagne, near Marseille. The World Cup starts with
    the Milan-San Remo classic on March 23.

    World Cup winner Johan Museeuw of Belgium and Italian riders such
    as Maurizio Fondriest, Claudio Chiappucci, Franco Ballerini,
    Flavio Baldato and Mario Cipollini are expected to dominate the
    early-season classics.

From Bill Henderson