News for January 17, 1997

Boardman to concentrate on Tour de France in 1997

British cyclist Chris Boardman, the world hour record holder, will not defend his world pursuit track title this year and concentrate on the Tour de France instead it was announced here on Wednesday.

Roger Legeay, boss of Boardman's GAN team, said that the Tour de France was wide open following the retirement of five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain earlier this month.

"Chris is in his third year as a professional and having progressed by finishing his first Tour last year, he must show more improvement this year," Legeay said.

Legeay, who masterminded American Greg Lemond's three Tour de France wins, said that while he thought winning the Tour was beyond the 28-year-old World time-trial silver medallist he should finish in the top 10.

"It is important that he is fresh for the Tour so he can finish in the top 10 and I expect him to win the prologue, the time-trial stages and hold the leader's yellow jersey for several days," Legeay said.

Boardman, who will make his seasonal debut in the Laigueglia Trophy in Italy on February 18, will race in his first Tour of Spain, instead of going to Australia for the world track cycling championships, and then go for the world time-trial championship in San Sebastien.

Kees van de Wereld coach of Spanish cycle-cross team

Former cycle racer Kees van de Wereld will begin in February as the Spanish cyclo cross team coach with the Munich world titles. The former Dutch cyclo cross champion - four times, three times as a professional - closed a new deal with the Spanish team, which he also coached last year. Van de Wereld will be with the Spanish team on Sunday at Heerlen for the World Cup final.

Coach of AGU protests against rules of KNWU

Egbert Koersen, the team leader for the AGU team finds it unjust that the Cycling Federation (KNWU) the treatment of amateurs in the coming season compared to the professionals. There are not enough opportunities for the young riders who must now race against the professionals in the races that were once amateur.

He says that the KNWU has made no changes for the racers between 18 and 23 years. "I have spent a lot of energy in training the young riders, but the Federation is not supportive" said Koersen. "The contract with my sponsor will stop at the end of the coming season. I have an option, but with no public support coming the AGU will probably pull out. I can no longer train them."

Koersen trains 6 young racers. He was the coach of the TVM racers Jeroen Blijlevens, Steven deJongh en Servais Knaven. The team leader saus that there are more good riders willing, but he has no confidence in the conduct of the Cycling Federation.

In the first race of the top competition category for the season pros will be able to race. Koersen and the other team bosses are willing to boycott. He thinks there is no other choice. "I shall protest at the entry time. There are not enough opportunities for young riders in the top competition."

Some team had prepared well for the first race, the Tour of South Holland, on March 8. Koersen said that while the team leaders must take the initiative, they are under pressure from the sponsors to race.