News for June 20, 1997

Rolf's Diary Update

Gottlieben (Switzerland), 17 June 97

Prologue, Tour de Suisse

I'll start at 18:22 and have to spend the entire afternoon in Romanshorn, since one can only view the course between 15 and 16 o'clock. But I can luckily go home in between this, as I live only 8km away from the prologue, but our team's hotel is 22km away.

The last day was somewhat stressful, since every local newspaper wanted something exclusive from me at the last moment. But when the Tour de Suisse finally starts, it'll be quieter. I hope it doesn't rain at my start time for the prologue; with these curves one doesn't have a chance anymore, and mine will be even smaller!

And they became smaller. Of course it drizzled on my run! But somehow I'm content, I beat Alex Zuelle, and caught Gianni Bugno at 7km! Now it's already 11 PM and I've not had a moments peace. But now I'll turn off the computer and watch "Good morning Vietnam" on TV.

Egerkingen (CH), 18 June 97

1st stage, Tour de Suisse

What a finish! Around thousands of corners of houses, over hundreds of tram lines, by a roundabout, and at the finish still 6th in the field sprint. Actually, I'm very happy with today's result, the legs were also very good in the small hills, up which we sprinted today. If it continues like this, I'm very confident that in this Tour de Suisse I'll be reporting about a stage victory. Since I've written this diary, I haven't won one single race, hopefully that will change as soon as possible. Congratulations to the German fans, Zabel won!

Translated by David Wear

Ronan Pensec's last race is the French national championship

The French rider Ronan Pensec has announced his farewell race. The 34 year-old rider from the GAN team will ride the French National Championship as his last race.

He wore the yellow jersey on the Tour '90 and his best placings were sixth in 1986 and seventh in 1987. Pensec started in 1984 with Team Peugeot and then with 'Z', Seur, Amaya, RMO, Histor Novemail & GAN, with 13 years as a Pro. In 1991 Pensec switched teams halfway through the season, going from Seur, which had not been invited to the Tour, to Amaya, where he finished that season. The last official race that he will dispute will be the Championship of France.


Theo de Rooy (team manager Rabobank) said after the sprint in the Tour de Suisse on Wednesday: "Robbie McEwen was second in the sprint. He is now being considered for a Tour-ticket. Certainly there is now a question about whether Johan Bruyneel will start. He has an injured foot and needs rest. But we have not too much time left. If he can't start in the Route du Sud in three days we will have to make at least a minimum change. To lose the routinier Bruyneel is a big loss. Maybe i should try to push Erik Breukink again to go one more time in the Tour".

Asics upset about Tour exclusion

Sandro Quintarelli, sport director for Team Asics, Chiappucci & Zaina's team, who was not invited to the Tour, was very upset yesterday. More than because they were not invited, because of the way that it happened. "I thought that Jean Marie Leblanc was a good person. Now I can say that he has behaved as a dictator. He never spoke to me and the closer the Tour, the harder to talk to him. If a month ago he would have told us that we weren't going to the Tour, we would have programmed a different calendar. Somebody asked if Nike, the official supplier of the Yellow Jersey, had something to do with out exclusion? I don't believe so".

Chiapppucci for Banesto's Tour team?

Banesto is incomplete after Miguel Angel Pena's accident at the Dauphine and they need a climber; Claudio Chiappucci, leader of Team Asics, will not be able to ride his last Tour, since his team wasn't invited. The arrangement came up simultaneously from both sides. "I don't know if it would be possible to ride the Tour with Banesto, but I would like to", said yesterday Chiappucci in Tarragona, where he's waiting for the start of la Volta. "It would be a nice way of repairing the injustice that has been done to him and it wouldn't be bad for the team, but I think that it will be difficult", explained Jose Miguel Echavarri, Banesto's director.

In an impulsive display, Echavarri at first showed interest in trying to accommodate Chiappucci. It would be an interesting chapter for the great Tour history: one of the great rivals of Indurain in his five Tours, helping Abraham Olano, his succesor to win his first. "My relationship with the people of Banesto has always been very good; we have been enemies on the road, bet we've always had a mutual respect", says 34 year old Chiappucci. "But the romanticism is restricted by the rules and the reality".

There have been previous cases, the most recent was Frenchman Ronan Pensec, from Team Seur, who rode the Tour with Amaya, also because Seur couldn't get invited to the Tour. But Pensec had to finish the season with Amaya. And that is the biggest problem now. Not only does Banesto only need Chiappucci for the Tour, but Asics also needs him for the rest of the season. "I don't think that the rules allow a rider to go and come back", explains Franco Arese, owner of the Italian team. "Because I would want him to come back".

Boifava is worried - Worried about the matter, Asics' director, spoke yesterday with Echavarri. "The future of this team is not clear. They are like a broken tile, very difficlut to fix", explains the Spanish director. "And I don't want to contribute for the team to break any further". Contracting Chiappucci, would also bring other problems, although they can be solved easier, like the bicycle brand and other personal sponsorships of the cyclist. Even some Banesto riders, not selected to the Tour, could look at this negatively.

Richard out!

Swiss Pascal Richard (Casino) will not ride the Tour. The Olympian had to be operated for a cyst and will have to rest for 15-20 days.

Telekom Tour team

Walter Godefroot of the Telekom-team gave ten names;
Bjarne Riis (Den) 33 
Jan Ullrich (Ger) 23 
Udo Bolts (Ger) 30 
Georg Totschnig (Aut) 26 
Jens Heppner (Ger) 32 
Christian Henn (Ger) 33
Rolf Aldag (Ger) 28
Erik Zabel (Ger) 26 
Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) 27 (will be 28 on June 20th)
Brian Holm (Den) 34 

McGregor 500 Metres Short

British cyclist, Yvonne McGregor was short 500 meters today to break the hour record which is held by French Jeannie Longo. Thirty six year old McGregor, finished the 60 minutes with a mark of 47,608 meters, while Longo's record was 48,159 meters. McGregor once already had the record at 47,411 meters, achieved on June of 95, but in October of the same year, Longo established the current record.


Rumour has it that Alex Zulle is the target of Jan Raas' Rabobank team for next year. As a replacement Manola Saiz has allegedly approached Chris Boardman whose GAN team is still looking for a replacement sponsor for next year. Chris Boardman should stay with GAN if they successfully find a replacement sponsor.

Allesandro Bertolini (MG) has been tested positive for caffeine which is another blow to the MG team following their drug's raid at the Giro.

The next Chris Boardman is starting to make his mark on the international scene, Paul Manning one the time trial stage of the Tour of Sweden and came third in the Prologue which may lead to a pro contract next year.