Latest World Rankings
1. L. Jalabert (Fra) 2003 points 2. M. Bartoli (Ita) 1801 3. A. Zulle (Zwi) 1745 4. B. Riis (Den) 1663 5. J. Museeuw (Bel) 1564 6. A. Tafi (Ita) 1320 7. R. Virenque (Fra) 1196 Zulle from 2 to 3 and Agnolutto from 481 to 87.
New Telekom RiderWalter Godefroot, directeur sportif of Team Telekom, has given a contract for 1998 to Dirk Muller, a 23-year-old rider of the GS-II-Team EC Bayer Worringen. Muller is the first new Telekom rider announced for next year. At the German championship last sunday, he finished 10th.
Tour NewsBanesto, ONCE & Kelme, the teams representing Spain at the coming Tour de France which starts next Saturday at Ruen, have a lot of possibilities, after an excellent season so far with many and important wins in the international calendar. The absence of five time winner, Miguel Indurain at the French race makes the three directors say that this one will be more wide open. The riders aspiring for the podium are many, some riders from Banesto, ONCE & Kelme, teams that have shown the excellence of their riders and solid leaders capable of filling Indurain's void.
Going for Banesto will be Abraham Olano, in charge of emulating Indurain at this 'number one' edition, like Jose Miguel Echavarri Banesto's director), likes to call it. The Guipozcoan is in great from and has the motivation, since last season at the Giro and the Tour he stayed with the best for many days, although he sunk at the end. This season his preparation has been targeted to shine at the Tour and the ones responsible for the team, like if he was the double of almighty Indurain, even after his crash at the Dauphine Libere.
Something similar ocurrs at Manolo Saiz' ONCE. They are considered one of the strongests teams in the peloton due to their balance and champion mentality of their riders, although the leaders for this race will be Alex Zulle & Laurent Jalabert. These riders, specially the Swiss already know what the Tour podium is and to wear the leader's jersey, by being one of the few that has been able to 'shadow' Indurain. Now without the Navarran the optimism is greater and according to Manuel Saiz they are at a unique ocassion to reach this objective, which is a first place at the Tour. Alex Zulle is, even after the fall that he suffered a few days ago, where he fractured his clavicle, one of the riders that counts the most to finish at the top of the podium, since he's not lacking class and is backed up by an excellent team.
At Kelme the optimism is similar, even though they don't have a famous leader, riders like Fernando Escartin or Hernan Buenahora who have shown to be ready for the race. Plus at this edition, things are on their side, since the mountains, their strong point will rule over the time trials, so their hopes are bigger and even more when you consider their super season so far.
The probable riders for the Tour will be: Banesto: Olano, Jimenez, Orlando Rodriguez, Beltran, Marino Alonso, Casero, Uriarte, Armand de las Cuevas & "Chente" Garcia.
ONCE: Zulle, Jalabert, Garmendia, Zarrabeitia, Sierra, Cuesta, Marcelino Garcia, Etxeberria & Leanizbarrutia.
Kelme: Escartin, Buenahora, Jose Jaime "Chepe" Gonzalez, Cabello, Arsenio, Vidal, Benitez, De los Angeles y Garcia Camacho.
The main victories this season are: Banesto: Abraham Olano: stage Vuelta a Asturias, stage Dauphine & stage and overall Bicicleta Vasca. Jose Maria Jimenez: Spanish Championship, stage and overall Vuelta a La Rioja. Santiago Blanco: stage Vuelta a la Rioja, two stages Bicicleta Vasca. Fernandez Gines: stage and overall Vuelta a Asturias. Marino Alonso: stage Valles Mineros. Orlando Rodrigues: stage Gp de Portugal. Jeremy Hunt: stage Gp Portugal, stage Circuito la Sarthe, stage Vuelta a Aragon, stage vuelta a la Rioja. ONCE: Alex Zulle: stage and overall Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Laurent Jalabert: stage and overall Vuelta a Mallorca, two stages and overall Paris-Nice, two stages Pais Vasco, Fleche Wallone. Marcelino Garcia: stage and overall Criterium International. Aitor Garmendia: stage Criterium, stage and overall Vuelta a Aragon, stage and overall Vuelta al Alentejo. Mikel Zarrabeitia: GP Navarra, GP Amorebieta, stage Vuelta a Aragon. Melchor Mauri: stage and overall circuito de la Sarthe. David Etxeberria: stage V. Mineros. Kelme: Fernando Escartin: stage Vuelta a Asturias, stage and overall Vuelta a Catalonia. Juan Carlos Dominguez: overall Vuelta a la Comunidad Valenciana, stage and overall Vuelta a la Comunidad Murciana, stage and overall Semana Catalana. Santos Gonzalez: stage Ruta Azteca. Angel Edo: stage Vuelta a Chile. Hernan Buenahora. stage Vuelta a Colombia. Garcia Camacho: stage vuelta a Asturias. Jose Luis Rubiera: stage Giro d'Italia. Jose Jaime "Chepe" Gonzalez: stage and mountain prize Giro d'Italia.
Hinault on IndurainFrench cyclist Bernard Hinault has declared in an interview with French newspaper "L'Equipe" that he wasn't surprised by the retirement of Miguel Indurain. "After what happened at the Tour, he was forced to ride la Vuelta. What a mistake! When you have won five Tours, you shouldn't have to listen to anybody about racing in a Tour if you don't feel like riding in it", commented Hinault. Laurent Fignon, interviewed at the same time as compatriot Hinault, is of the opinion today's riders only think of the Tour, due to the commercialization which didn't exist ten years ago. About the possibility that Laurent Jalabert might win this year the Tour, Hinault says no. "He's lacking about 5% in the mountains and about 5% in the time trial in relation to Riis or Ulrich". Fignon agrees and adds: "Jalabert is not a master tactician". For both cyclists, Belgian Eddy Merckx is the best in history and both believe that if they participated now, they would win more races than during their time. Hinault confesses that he has never suffered at the Tour, but has ridden beyond his strength at other races, like Liege-Bastogne-Liege when he won under a snow storm. "I left my fingers there, I have never fully recuperated the sense in my fingers".
OlanoThe Banesto rider, Abraham Olano said today at Melilla, after disputing the Spanish Road Championship, that he felt "very well and much better than expected" before the Tour. "It has been a positive test for me, because I have good physical form", explained Olano. "The recuperation is going pretty good and I expect to be even better when the Tour gets closer", added Olano. He also talked about Banesto's good work at the race: "we have controlled the race well and found the right escape" and admitted that he was pretty happy by the win of his teammate Jose Maria Jimenez. About the race course he dais that is was "tough with some difficult climbing", although the wind gusts in the morning made things difficult for cyclists, "because one didn't have a moments rest". In terms of his rivals at the Tour said: I'm not one to check on them because if you are going well, you don't need to worry about anybody" and concluded saying that he hoped that he did things right to "spoil the July naps for all the cycling fans".
MapeiThe presence of Belgian Johan Museeuw and the absence of Italian Gianni Faresin, who yesterday won the Italian Road Championship, are the biggest news out of Team Mapei for the Tour. The list of rider riding the Tour de France '97 under the direction of Giuseppe Saronni, will be composed of four Belgians, three Italians, one Swiss and one Polish, as follows: Johan Museeuw, Oskar Camnezind, Daniele Nardello, Valentino Fois, Tom Steels, Andrea Tafi, Frank Vandenbroucke, Wilfried Peeters & Zenon Jaskula. The absence of Faresin, just like Pavel Tonkov, was already programmed before disputing the championship since both rode the Giro and in fifteen days they will start preparations for la Vuelta a Espana and the World Championships.
RiisBjarne Riis' preparation for the defence of his Tour de France crown has been so secret that nobody knows how he will perform when cycling's showcase event starts in Rouen on Saturday.
Over the last decade, riders such as Greg LeMond or Miguel Indurain have made it a trend to base their entire season around the Tour. Riis, the unexpected 1996 winner, has gone one step further.
For, while the American and the Spaniard, now both retired, took part in big stage races such as the Giro d'Italia or the Dauphine Libere one month before the big July event, the 32-year-old Dane has stayed away.
The only one-week events in his build-up for the Tour were the Midi Libre and the Tour of Switzerland. He admitted having ``a hard time'' in the former and he pulled out of the latter, supposedly with flu, although not before putting in one superb ride in the mountains.
He withdrew at the last minute from the Dauphine Libere, a race that Indurain had regularly used as a precursor to the Tour.
There was a last hiccup in Riis' preparation last week when he was beaten in the Danish time trial championship by a virtually unknown compatriot.
On that kind of form it is tempting to discount the Dane's chances but the Tour is also about mind games and Riis may have tried deliberately to give his rivals the wrong impression.
``What matters is to reach my peak on July 5 in Rouen,'' he said after the Midi Libre race.
His own personal adviser, Italian doctor Cecchini, has often asked him to avoid overdoing things and there are enough signs to suggest that last year's winner will be ready when the race gets under way.
His Telekom team, who crushed the opposition 12 months ago, are back to their best form. Gifted German Jan Ullrich, second to his team leader last year in Paris, won a tough mountain stage in the Tour of Switzerland two weeks after team mate Udo Bolts won the Dauphine Libere.
Another German, Erik Zabel, has rivalled Italian Mario Cipollini as the most consistent sprinter of the season.
With a team like that to help him out and a strong reserve leader in Ullrich, Riis has every reason to start the Tour in Rouen full of confidence.
Above all, he should be able to count on his own strength which shone through during an impressive April when he won the Amstel Gold race after an impressive 40-kms breakaway.
A week later, in the Frankfurt Grand Prix, he was beaten only by Italian Michele Bartoli, arguably the strongest classic rider of 1997.
It was probably then that Riis, who has been practising behind a motorcycle in the winter to improve his power on flat roads, decided to take it easy both to save stamina and to fool his rivals.
He went back to Denmark, won four races in a week and took a break.
Whether the balding Dane will be in his April form or in his apparently lacklustre shape of June may be the key to this year's Tour.
More RiisDanish cyclist Bjarne Riis is ready to repeat his 1996 Tour victory at the 1997 Tour which begins on Saturday. Thirty three year old Riis, showed excellent form at the recent Tour de Suisse, after winning the Classic Amstel Gold Race, although this year he lost the title of Danish Champion and will start the Tour with a regular Telekom jersey. "It was a surprise result, but it has helped me to control my physical form which is the most important thing", said Riis when he lost the National Championship to Nicolai Bo Larsen. The other Danish riders that will participate at the Tour will be Rolf Sorensen (32), Bo Hamburger (27), Jesper Skibby (30 odd), and Peter Meinert (25).
The Danish press reports the absences which include Michael Blaudzun (24), who has not recovered from a knee injury. Brian Holm (34), the popular rider will not be able to attend due to a fall suffered in the Spring, which prevented him to reach his best form. Not riding either will be Lars Michaelsen, named last week as backup for Team TVM, since they are already taking to Danes to the Tour with Bo Hamburger & Jesper Skibby.
Prologue - July 5 - Rouen, 8 kms time trial. 1st stage - 6th - Rouen to Forges-les-Eaux, 192 kms. 2nd stage - 7th - St-Valery-en-Caux to Vire, 262 kms. 3rd stage - 8th - Vire to Plumelec, 217 kms. 4th stage - 9th - Plumelec to Le Puy du Fou, 225 kms. 5th stage - 10th - Chantonnay to La Chatre, 257 kms. 6th stage - 11th - Le Blanc to Marennes, 216 kms. 7th stage - 12th - Marennes to Bordeaux, 190 kms. 8th stage - 13th - Sauternes to Pau, 165 kms. 9th stage - 14th - Pau to Loudenvielle, 178 kms. 10th stage - 15th - Luchon to Andorra, 242 kms. 11th stage - 16th - Andorra to Perpignan, 186 kms. Rest day - 17th - St. Etienne. 12th stage - 18th - St. Etienne, 55 kms time trial. 13th stage - 19th - St. Etienne to l'Alpe d'Huez, 204 kms. 14th stage - 20th - Le Bourg d'Oisans to Courchevel, 140 kms. 15th stage - 21st - Courchevel to Morzine, 217 kms. 16th stage - 22nd - Morzine to Fribourg, 180 kms. 17th stage - 23rd - Fribourg to Colmar, 190 kms. 18th stage - 24th - Colmar to Montbeliard, 164 kms. 19th stage - 25th - Montbeliard to Dijon, 172 kms. 20th stage - 26th - EuroDisney (Paris), 62 kms time trial. 21st stage - 27th - EuroDisney to Paris (Champs Elysees), 150 kms. Total distance: 3,870 kms
Tour DataEugene Christophe of France was the first rider to wear the race leader's yellow jersey when it was introduced in 1919. He rode his first Tour in 1906 and his eighth and last in 1925.
Christophe rode into Tour folklore in 1913 when he walked 14 kilometres from the summit of the Tourmalet mountain in the Pyrenees after breaking the front forks of his bike.
At the smithy of St Marie de Campan he repaired his machine, watched by a Tour official who penalised him three minutes for allowing outside help -- a young boy pumped the forge bellows.
Only four men have won the Tour de France five times. Spain's Miguel Indurain was the first to achieve it in consecutive years, winning in 1991, 92, 93, 94 and 95.
The others were Bernard Hinault of France in 1978, 79, 81, 82 and 85, Eddy Merckx of Belgium in 1969, 70, 71, 72 and 74, and the late Jacques Anquetil of France in 1957, 61, 62, 63 and 64.
Only four men have worn the yellow jersey from start to finish. Ottavio Bottechia (Italy) in 1924, Nicolas Frantz (Luxembourg) in 1928, Romain Maes (Belgium) in 1936 and Anquetil in 1961.
France's Pelissier brothers, Henri (1923), Francis (1927) and Charles (1930) all wore the yellow jersey, but only Henri finished the Tour as winner.
Biggest winning margin -- two hours and 49 minutes by Maurice Garin of France in 1903. Smallest margin -- eight seconds by Greg LeMond of the United States in 1989.
Most stage wins: Eddy Merckx (Belgium) 34.
Most stage wins in one Tour: 8 by Charles Pelissier in 1930, Merckx in 1970 and 74 and Freddy Maertens (Belgium) in 1976.
Longest Tour de France: 5,745 kms (1926). The Belgian winner, Lucien Buysse, completed it in 238 hours and 44 minutes, an hour and 22 minutes clear of the runner-up.
Longest stage: 482 kms from Les Sables d'Olonne to Bayonne. The first winner of this stage was Jean Alavoine in 1919.
Most Tours completed: Joop Zoetemelk of the Netherlands finished 16 times, winning the Tour once and placing second a further six times.
In 1914 the last rider, Henri Leclerc, finished more than 99 hours behind the winner, Philippe Thys of Belgium, after 15 stages covering 5,287 kms.
More than 3,500 people accompany the Tour each year. Riders and back-up crews total 500. There are 400 organisation workers and 800 in the publicity caravan. The media accounts for a further 1,800 including representatives of some 50 television channels from around the globe.
The Tour's 1,500 vehicles range from motor cycles to articulated mobile offices.
Tour WinnersNo Frenchman has won the Tour since Bernard Hinault's fifth and final win in 1985 but over the past 25 years, France still tops the list of winners with nine victories. Spain, thanks principally to Miguel Indurain, has seven while Belgium and the United States have both triumphed three times. The Netherlands, Ireland, and Denmark have each won once.
1972 Eddy Merckx (Belgium) 1973 Luis Ocana (Spain) 1974 Eddy Merckx 1975 Bernard Thevenet (France) 1976 Lucien van Impe (Belgium) 1977 Bernard Thevenet 1978 Bernard Hinault (France) 1979 Bernard Hinault 1980 Joop Zoetemelk (Netherlands) 1981 Bernard Hinault 1982 Bernard Hinault 1983 Laurent Fignon (France) 1984 Laurent Fignon 1985 Bernard Hinault 1986 Greg LeMond (U.S.) 1987 Stephen Roche (Ireland) 1988 Pedro Delgado (Spain) 1989 Greg LeMond 1990 Greg LeMond 1991 Miguel Indurain (Spain) 1992 Miguel Indurain 1992 Miguel Indurain 1993 Miguel Indurain 1994 Miguel Indurain
TELEKOM (GER): Riis (Den), Ullrich, Aldag, Boelts, Henn, Heppner, Lombardi (Ita), Totschnig (AUT), Zabel MAPEI-GB (ITA): Museeuw (Bel), Camenzind (Sui), Fois, Nardello, Peeters (Bel), Steels (BEL), Tafi, Vandenbroucke (Bel), Jaskula (Pol) MG-TECHNOGYM (ITA): Bartoli, Baldato, Finco, Fontanelli, Lecchi, Loda, Nicoletti, Pistore, Scinto POLTI (ITA): Leblanc (Fra), Baldinger (Ger), Brasi, Crepaldi, De Vries (NED), Gualdi, Guerini, Outschakov (Ukr), Valoti SAECO (ITA): Gotti, F. Casagrande, Cipollini, Fagnini, Fornaciari, Frigo, Furlan, Lelli, Martinello. The Swiss Buschor is apparently only a substitute. BATIK (ITA): Berzin (Rus), Brognara, Cenghialta, G. Colombo, F. Frattini, Minali, Pierobon, Tartaggia, Toffalori MERCATONE-UNO (ITA): Pantani, Arthungi, Piovaccari, Conti, Siboni, Pellicioli, Podenzana, Traversoni, B. Zberg BANESTO (SPA): Olano, Alonso, J.L. Arrieta, Beltran, Blanco, Casero, Garcia-Acosta, Jimenez, O. Rodrigues (Por) De las Cuevas not selected! Miguel-Angel Pena fallen in the Dauphine is out of the hospital. ONCE (SPA): Jalabert (Fra), Zuelle (Sui), Cuesta, Etxebarria, Garcia, Garmendia, Sierra, Zarabeitia,* *: To decide under Otazu, Leanizbarutia and Mauleon. Zuelle takes a decision today. KELME (SPA): Escartin, Benitez, Buenahora (Col), Cabello, De Los Angeles, Ars. Gozalez, J. Gonzalez, Pascual, Vidal US POSTAL (USA): Ekimov (Rus), Baffi (Ita), Baranowski (Pol), Robin (Fra), Derame (Fra), Meinert (Den), Hamilton, Hincapie, Jemison TVM (NED): Hamburger (Den), Roux (Fra), Den Bakker, Blijlevens, Hoffman, Knaven, Skibby (Den), Van Petegem (Bel), Voskamp RABOBANK: Luttenberger (Aut), Soerensen (Den), Boogerd, Breuking, Dekker, Jonker (Aus), Mc Ewen (Aus), D. Nelissen, Van Bon ROSLOTTO-ZG (RUS): Ferrigato (Ita), Djavanian, Fincato (Ita), Gontchenkov, Kokorine, Padrnos (Rtc), Sgnaolin (Ita), Strazzer (Ita), Zen (Ita) LOTTO (BEL): Madouas (Fra), Tchmil (Rus), Abdoujaparov (Uzb), Salmon (Fra), Teteriouk (Kaz), Planckaert, Wauters, Van Hyfte, Farazijn LA MUTUELLE-DE SEINE-ET-MARNE (FRA): Dojwa, Cueff, Delrieu, Fraser (Can), Anti, Lamour, Maignan, Pillon, Rault
Jack and Jones becomes clearerMichael Holm writes that a press conferrence has just been held in Copehagen regarding the future of Team Jack & Jones. It seems like there is more truth to the rumors that Brian Holm started when he told a Belgian newspaper that Bjarne Riis would be the leader of the new Danish team Jack & Jones.
It is now official that Riis will become the leader of the team, but not next year as Holm had told the paper. Riis does have a contract with Telekom for 1998 and he has to honour that one before he can switch. That means that Riis will be cycling for team Jack and Jones in 1999. There was no word about Jesper Skibby but due to circumstances stated earlier is it still my clear impression that he wont be a part of the new Danish team.
Noordwijk, Netherlands, Elite Criterium
1. Max Van Heeswijk (Baexem) 100 km in 2.18.14 2. Cornelisse (Amsterdam) 3. Vann der Tang (Voorhout)
Trofee Het Volk, Belgium, June 28Leif Hoste won the Trofee Het Volk from Gunther Stockx in a photo finish. In the two final laps of 30 kms, with climbs of the Berendries as a formidable obstacle, twelve riders were still in contention: Tom Serlet, Gunther Stockx, Bert De Waele, Leif Hoste, Wesley Huvaere, Ludovic Capelle, Geert Van Crombruggen, Johan Dekkers, Jurgen Vermeersch, Bjorn Rondelez and Steven Verheyen. The last named rider had a fast chase after a puncture but the other eleven were not riding aggressively.
Ludovic Capelle was in the first attack. The double winner of the Tour of Flanders (for amateurs) was doing most of the work. Stockx had 3 punctures during the race. This had made him so angry that on the last climb of the Berendries he attacked. Hoste went with him and this was a good break. The duo could get more than 25 seconds on the chasers. In the last kilometers it became clear it was to become a race between the two. Stock tried to attack before the sprint and quickly too a 30 metre gap. Hoste however came back again and was the top man in the sprint by centimeters.
"I have ridden well all season". he said. "Today I was super and I made up for the troubles I had. I am hoping for a professinal contract. This must come this year, otherwise I will hang up my bike on the hook!"
1. Leif Hoste (Bavikhove) 171 km in 4.32.00 (avs 38,283 kph) 2. Gunther Stockx s.t. 3. Jurgen Vermeersch 0.07 4. Bert De Waele 0.18 5. Johan Dekkers s.t. 6. Geert Van Crombruggen 7. Bjorn Rondelez 8. Wesley Huvaere 9. Ludovic Capelle 10. Steven Tack 11. Tom Serlet 12. Karel Vereecke 13. Marc Chanoine 0.42 14. Wilfried Cretskens s.t. 15. Chris Long (Australia) 2.22 16. Marcel Gono (Australia) Giant-AIS s.t. 17. Chris Pollin 2.40 18. David Vanhove s.t. 19. Stive Vermaut 20. Bruno Schonbroodt 21. Jurgen Guns 2.50 22. Thierry De Groote 3.02 23. Christophe Brandt s.t. 24. David Debremaeker 25. Kristof Trouve 26. Goswin Laplasse 27. Wim De Glas 3.46 28. Gianni David s.t. 29. Bjorn Leukemans 4.10 30. Frederik Penne s.t. 31. Wesley Theunis 32. Jimmy Geerts 33. Wim Heselmans 34. Kristof Van Gestel 35. Nico De Keyser 6.15 36. Tim Meeusen s.t. 37. Kurt Habraken 38. David Malcorps 6.48 39. Jurgen Van Roosbroek s.t. 40. Jean-Michel Remacle 41. Thomas Fulberth (Ger) 42. Manu Lhoir 43. Jan Verstraeten 7.10 44. Robby Pelgrims s.t. 45. Justin Clarke (GB) 46. Jurgen Landrie 47. Sibastien Mattozza 48. Kristof Vancauteren 49. Jonas Hudalla (Ger) 50. Steven Verheyen Belgian unless otherwise noted.
British NationalsGiving Banesto a second National Championship in Jeremy Hunt - his fifth win of the year and his first in Britain for almost two years.
The race was held in Aberagvenny and Brynmawr, two towns in south Wales. The distance was 225kms and there were 128 starters from an entry of nearly 160.
Hunt was first over the major climb of the Tumble mountain, a few seconds ahead of Matt Stephens, Harry Lodge and Julian Winn. A group of eight formed for the last 80 kilometres around a small finsihing circuit in Brynmawr, but Hunt crashed with Winn on an oil slick. Winn went to hospital with head and arm injuries, while Hunt got into a chasing second group of nine which were closing fast. He got back to the front and then broke clear near the end with Mark Walsham, Matt Stephens and Dan Smith, a new pro with Ambrosia. In the last kilometre, Hunt got clear with Walsham and won the sprint. Walsham has ridden the championship 13 times and now has two seconds, a third and a fourth!