News for January 15, 1997

Big Mig become mortal - and visits a bike shop

Barely a week after the 32-year old Spaniard announced his retirement from the sport, he made his first tentatives steps into a shop to buy his own bike.

But the 1996 Olympic time-trial champion walked out empty handed when he discovered a suitable bike would set him back around 3,850 dollars.

Before leaving the store, Indurain admitted to the puzzled salesman that during his twelve year career he had never had to bother about the price of his bikes.

He added that he had absolutely no idea how to fix one of his racing machines -- the squad of team mechanics had always seen to that.

Criterium International Sticks With Tarn for 1997

The 66th Criterium International is sticking with a location in the Tarn region of southern France for the third successive year. Taking place on the weekend of March 29-30, the three-stage race organised by the Societe du Tour de France, won last year by Chris Boardman, begins with a new-route first stage starting at Blaye-les-Mines, near Carmaux, finishing 188km later, after a flattish course, at Rabastens. The second, hilly, stage is exactly as last year: 80km from Laurent Jalabert's home town of Mazamet to the summit of the pic de Nore. Th final, time trial stage, is also unchanged in location -- at Castres -- but is slightly longer than last year at 8km rather than 6.5km.

Armstrong update

Lance Armstrong, the 1993 world road race cycling champion, had his first run out with his Cofidis teammates on Friday, barely a month after finishing chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

"I feel fine," he told reporters afterwards, though he added: "These 100 kilometres were not actual training, just a run out. I stayed at the back too."

The 25-year-old Armstrong revealed last October that he had testicular cancer and would be undergoing chemotherapy, although he was given between a 70 to 90 percent chance of fully recovering and returning full-time to professional cycling.

He returned home to Texas to recuperate and set his sights on resuming competition by the end of the 1997 season.

He said Friday he did not know exactly when he would resume racing but revealed he was n longer undergoing medical treatment.

"The doctors say I now have an 80 percent chance of surviving, but I suffered a lot during the treatment," he admitted.

"I only had two choices -- to let go and die or fight and survive. I'm not ready to die," he went on.

Armstrong said if anything the illness had increased his love of cycling -- and also given him faith. "Now I believe in God. Every day is a good day for me," he explained, adding although he ha prepared for the worst, "I never said to myself, Lance, you're going to die."

He revealed he had received hundreds of good luck messages from around the world, which helped him through the worst stages of the treatment.

Armstrong said he had been particularly touched that compatriot and triple Tour de France winner Greg LeMond as well as new Italian teammate Maurizio Fondriest had taken time out to wish him all the best, Fondriest phoning him on Christmas Day.

After a short link-up with his teammates, Armstrong will return to Texas on Wednesday for "several months" to build up his fitness.

Worldcup in Heerlen on 19 January with 15 National Teams

Heerlen, is near Maastricht on the border with Germany in the Netherlands. It is an old coal mining town, which has become rather depressed since the mines were closed some 20 years ago.

The World Cyclocross teams will come to Heerlen on Sunday January 19 for the final of the World Cup. On the Hellegat circuit 15 national teams will be competing for the top prize.

The top competitors will include the Dutch riders Adri van der Poel and Richard Groenendaal, the Italian Daniele Pontoni (1994 winner) and Luca Bramati (1995 winner). Also racing will be the Dutch National champion Wim de Vos, Marcel Scheffer and Erik Boezewinkel. In the second Dutch team there is Gretienus Gommers and Maarten Nijland. Jerome Chiotti, MTB world champion, will start for the French team.

The racing circuit is over hilly terrain with metal road, sand, pasture land, and forest roads. Spread out over the route are many obstacles.

Martin Van Dijk quits as National Cyclocross Coach

Martin van Dijk has stopped as the national cyclocross coach. His last event will be the World Titles in Munich over 1-2 February. Van Dijk has been the head of the cyclocrossers for nearly 9 years. "He has had enough" said KNWU President Joop Atsma "We are sad but we understand."

Adri van der Poel may be a successor. Atsma: "Van der Poel has an option, but perhaps he will stay one more year on his bike. We shall attempt to keep him in the sport."

Van Dijk had success with his selections at the Worlds. Erik Boezewinkel, Richard Groenendaal en Gretienus Gommers won the junior titles under him. Netherlands also won two professional golds during his period. In 1990, Henk Baars took the title and last year Van der Poel won the rainbow jersey.

Gommers will ride pro for VKS next season

Gretienus Gommers will ride professionally for VKS next season. The Frieslander won the Netherlands cyclocross championship for amateurs on Sunday.

The former junior world champion also has been selected for the world championship in February in Munich. "VKS is serious about cyclocross" said director Hans van Kasteren. The team of national champion Wim de Vos also has Erik Boezenwinkel on contract.

Monique Knol stops after 12 years

Monique Knol has quit bike racing. After 12 years in the sport at the top level the 32 year-old sprinter from Wezep, NL will not ride anymore. "I have had my last ride", said Knol. "I have trained hard over the winter but with little success. It is sad, but I have had a good career."

The two Olympic medals were high points on the track for Knol. At the 1988 games in Seoul she won gold. Four years later in Barcelona she got a bronze. In total she won over a hundred national and international competitions.

Lino to Big Mat

Sometime Tour de France yellow jersey Pascal Lino, 30, a rider with Roslotto-ZG Mobili in 1996, has been has been signed by Big Mat Auber 93 (formerly Aubervilliers 93-Peugeot)

Bremen Six Day Final Standings

 1. Kappes-Wolf 		284
 2. Martinello-Villa 		281
 3. Risi-Betschart 		267
 4. De wilde-Ludwig 		212

	at 1 lap

 5. Veggerby-Madsen 		137