First Edition News for November 23


   Ernesto Colnago, in his 40 year career has been noted for
   anticipating, suggesting and promoting innovtions. So for Tony
   Rominger's next attempt to beat his own World Hour record, Ernesto
   is building him a new bike.

   Said Ernesto, "I've known Tony for so many years, and to know his
   needs for an Hour attempt requires a certain experience...."

   (Colnago prepared a bike for Merckx in 1972, it should be

   Colnago is contemplating a carbon or titanium frame. "It must be
   shaped like a drop and thin as a blade," said he. ["un telaio con
   la conformazione a goccia, perr sottile come una lama" - for anyone
   who can do a better job of translating this bit]

   Colnago will start with a C.42 prototype (Carbon) which will be on
   display at the September Milan bike show.

   Another feature will be the lenticular wheels which will be
   "riddled like a golf ball" for a better air penetration index

   Ernesto feels that with such a bike, Rominger will have no trouble
   completing in excess of the current 55 kilmometers in the hour.

New Selection Process for Worlds Road Race

With next year's cycling system running on the basis of "elite" and
"espoirs" (see above) the UCI has devised a new system of selection
for the 1996 and subsequent World Championships road races. The old
pro/amateur system will be replaced with a race for the elite and a
race for espoirs, who may be no older than 23 years. The system for
the elite race rests on national classifications of the 10 best riders
in each nation according to their UCI ranking. The 10 top-ranked
nations on this basis will be entitled to enter 12 riders in the elite
race and the five next-ranked nations eight riders only. The rest of a
maximum field of 200 riders will be filled with riders according to
their individual UCI rankings.

A simulation of the present situation gives the following result: 12
riders -- Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Russia, Belgium, Germany,
Netherlands, Denmark, US; eight riders -- Ukraine, Colombia, Great
Britain, Australia, Poland. The 40 places left over would be filled by
individuals of the calibre of Abdujaparov (Uzbekistan).

Party for Chiapucci

   Saturday, 9 December at Varese, in the beautiful surroundings of
   Villa Ponti, there will be meeting of the Chiappucci Club.

   On 3 December, at Greenland (Limbiati) the baptism of Saumele,
   second born of the house of Chiappucci...
Touring News

Part IV

  There was perfect weather for the start of stage 2 on Monday--warm
  and sunny but not too hot.  I arrived at the start in Perros Guirec
  right next to the beach almost 2 hours before the start time.  The
  start is my favorite place to be at a race.  It is easy to get up
  close to the riders, the bikes and the mechanics and get an intimate
  view of the race.  I was surprised at the relatively lax security
  compared to the Prologue.  I wandered around freely and got good
  photos of Marco Pantani, Team Motorola (while they posed for a team
  photo), and the Coca Cola Girls, the ones who present the awards to
  the winner of each stage.  I was walking past the girls and was
  surprised to hear their American southern accents--they said they
  were from Dallas--and they were nice enough to pose for a group shot
  for me.

  Once the race left on its way out of Brittany to Vitre, I walked
  back along the coastal trail to my friends home.  It was a bit after
  noontime when I got back to his house and there was another
  spectacle going on there.  A national television show called Autour
  du Tour was on the air live from  an overlook on the ocean in front
  the house.  This program is on the air for a half hour at noon each
  day of the Tour. It really has little to do with the race; rather it
  is a show that follows the Tour around the country and describes the
  sights, culture and food of the different regions of France through
  which the Tour passes.

  I knew they would be there because the TV technicians had been
  setting up their equipment since early morning before I left for the
  race. The producers of the show had come to Jean Francois the day
  before and asked to borrow his overlook for the broadcast.  His
  house is right on the ocean next to a lighthouse and so it is a
  picturesque setting.  It was like having the Today show broadcast
  from  the front of your house before the Super Bowl or World Series.

  And so the Tour moved out of Brittany on its way across Normandy.  I
  would follow it for one more day.  But first I had to make a plan
  for the following --the Team Time Trial.  We went to the train
  station at Lannion and with the help of Jean Francois I explained my
  proposed itinerary to the ticket agent.  I wanted to be in Alencon
  by early afternoon, stay there for about five hours and then get
  back on a train headed for Blois in the Loire Valley where I was
  expected by other friends that evening.

   This is a crazy itinerary for a one-day trip (you can see this if
   you look at a map of France). Nevertheless I was confident it was
   possible because I had mapped it out in my French rail atlas.  The
   girl at the ticket window wrote out the station changes and times
   for me and she made a reservation on the TGV portion of the trip.
   In case you are wondering, my itinerary for the day was Lannion-St.
   Brieuc-Rennes-Le Mans-Alencon-Alencon-Tours-Blois.  Thanks to the
   excellent connections and frequency of the trains I completed this
   trip in one day without a hitch.  And I saw an exciting afternoon
   of Team Time Trialing as well.

  It was in Alencon that I met up with the three crazy Englishmen.  It
  was around noontime and I was walking from the train station towards
  the center of town looking for the race course.  I passed a small
  cafe and there was a guy sitting outside next to three mountain
  bikes.  I asked him in French for directions to the Tour and he
  clearly did not understand so I asked him if he spoke English.  Yes,
  he sure did and he was very glad to meet a fellow English speaker.
  This was  the improbably named Tex, an Englishman by birth who grew
  up in Ireland.  He invited me to sit and have a beer and a sandwich
  while he guarded the bikes and waited for his friends who had gone
  over to the exhibit hall to see Expotour, an exhibit of cycling and
  Tour memorabilia like the one I had seen in St. Brieuc.

  Tex (so named because of his love and knowledge of country music)
  told me the story of how he and his two friends took the ferry from
  England to Le Havre and pedaled their fully loaded bikes to Alencon.
  It really was not that far, maybe 75 miles, but Tex told me that one
  of the guys had barely ever ridden a bike before and he was now=7F
  suffering from all kinds of aches and pains and holding up the other
  two guys.  Still they were having a great time and I admired their
  adventurous spirit.

  Soon the other two guys joined us and we had another round of beers
  while we talked about the Tour and other topics.  The owner of the
  cafe, who was serving us,  seemed delighted that the Tour had
  brought this little bit of extra business to his doorstep and he
  talked to us with me translating.  Then he did something that I
  thought was very uncharacteristic of a French cafe owner--he bought
  us all a round of beers.  It just goes to show that the French,
  despite their reputation, can be just  as hospitable as any people
  in the world. Though they may not always show it as this cafe owner
  did, they really do like us a lot.

  By now the first team was out on the course so I headed down the
  block to the finish area.  On the way there I stopped briefly at the
  exhibit hall for a glimpse of Expotour--more great memorabilia of
  Tours past.

  It was another beautiful day, a little warm for the riders but
  perfect for the spectators.  I found a good spot about a half mile
  from the finish and across from the monument and museum of General
  Leclerc, the commander of the French division attached to the  army
  of General Patton during the battle of Normandy.  Alencon was the
  first French city to be liberated by French troops, an event of
  which the city residents are very proud.

  There was a small bend in the street there and I took pictures of
  the teams as they rounded the curve and powered to the finish at 35
  mph.  I think the team time trial is the most aesthetically pleasing
  event in road cycling and this setting could not have been better
  for it.

  The teams came by at five minute intervals and as I waited I struck
  up a conversation with the man next to me and his friend.  The first
  guy was a retired English teacher (and also the former vice mayor of
  the town) and his friend was the editor of the local weekly
  newspaper Orne Hebdo.  They filled me in on the history of General
  Leclerc and I explained how I was following the first four days of
  La Grande Boucle.  They seemed intrigued that someone would come all
  this way to their little city just to see the race.  So the
  newspaper editor noted the details of my journey, snapped a picture
  of me and told me that he would run a little story about me in the
  next issue.  I hardly thought of myself as a visiting dignitary but
  this sure made me feel like one. With only one or two teams still
  out on the course I had to leave to catch my train.  We said our
  good-byes and the editor took my business card and promised to send
  me the next issue.

  Upon my eventual return to the US my faith in the kindheartedness of
  the French was once again rewarded.  The editor sent me the issue as
  promised and there among the stories on the Tour coming to Alencon,
  the marriage announcements and high school exam results  was a brief
  story and a picture of Bob the American.

Source: Bob Hebert