News for January 11, 1997

Russian cyclist injured in training spill

Russian cyclist Pavel Tonkov, winner ofthe Tour of Italy last year, fractured his left hand following a spill during a training ride, officials of his Italian team Mapei reported Thursday.

Tonkov, 26, collided with Italian teammate Valentino Fois and fell at a corner in Tuscany. Doctors did not immediately say how long Tonkov will be sidelined.

Russian rider Pavel Tonkov, the winner of last year's Tour of Italy, could face surgery after fracturing his hand in a fall in training, his Mapei GB team said Thursday. Tonkov was riding through the slush of melting snow when he failed to take a bend during a descent at Castagneto Carducci in Tuscany on Wednesday.

An examination on Thursday revealed a fracture, and the Russian will have further tests at a hospital near his Bergamo home on Friday. If necessary, surgeons will operate on the injured hand, the team said.

New Spanish Team in 1998

The Spanish insurance company Seguros Vitalicio will start a new road racing team next year. The Team leader Javier Minguez, has previously been associated with other teams like ZOR, BH and Amayaonder.

Previously he spent two seasons as assistant to Jose Miguel Echavarri with Banesto.

The company has financed the team for three years. The first year's investment by Seguros Vitalicio will be worth 6 million guilders. There are places for 18 riders, most of whom will be Spanish.

Cyclocross rider Eric Boezewinkel will turn pro next season

Cyclocross rider Eric Boezewinkel will enter the pro ranks from January 1 1998. The 24 year-old elite rider without a contract who comes from Hooglanderveen is one of the better cyclo-crossers in the Netherlands along with Adri van der Poel, Richard Groenendaal and Wim de Vos.

He rode last season in the service of the sponsor VKS. Boezenwinkel believes that now is the time. He thinks that if he goes well on Sunday in the national title to be held at Zeddam then he will get a pro offer.

Does he believe in himself? Especially given the dominance of the Rabo duo Van der Poel and Groenendaal. "I must have a go." he said on Thursday. "I have been short of form. But the last week I felt better riding."