Second Edition News for October 22, 1997

Contracts and Transfers

- Txomin Perurena has received the news that he has been let go as director of Team Euskadi, job which will be taken over by ex- Pro cyclist JuliŠn Gorospe. After 4 years in the helm, Perurena was changed because the team needs a shakeup. "We felt that the time for a change had come, but we have no complains about Txomin, whose behavior has been exemplary", said Alvaro Uriarte, representing the Euskadi director's board. "Perurena will continue with us, if he wants", said Uriarte, "but working in other things for the Foundation which are very important".

Gerard Rue Retires

French rider Gerard Rue (32) has decided to retire. Currently with GAN, Rue has just completed his eleventh season as a pro. His last race was the Giro di Lombardia last Saturday. Rue's career as something of a super-domestique included spells at Helvetia, Castorama and Banesto, where the Breton farmer's son (one of seven children) became a close friend of Navarran farmer's son Miguel Indurain.

An incomplete palmares of Rue includes the following high placings and wins: 1989 Milano--San Remo 8th; 1989 Paris--Nice 5th; 1989 GP de Liberation (team time trial) 2nd; 1989 French national championship 5th; 1991 1st Stage 5 of Tirreno--Adriatico (7th overall); 1991 2nd overall Crtierium International de la Route; 1995 2nd Classique des Alpes (following breakaway with Banesto team-mate Ramon Gonzalez Arrieta, who took first place).

Gerard Rue on Banesto team-mate Miguel Indurain: "I will always look back on those evenings before the Tour would finally head to Paris when Miguel would come and offer me one of his yellow jerseys. With us, his close friends, he always knew just what to say. He was straightforward and extremely generous. To me he will always remain one of the greatest gentlemen in cycling -- above all, a humble champion."

Gerard Rue's wife Christelle on Miguel Indurain: "During the 1993 Tour, I went to visit Gerard on the night of the the Dinard stage at a hotel near Mont St Michel. I stayed there to eat but, though I was the wife of a rider, I hadn't asked to be put on a table with the team, so I was there alone, tucked out of the way. All of a sudden, Miguel stood up, picked up my place setting and invited me over to their table, sitting me between himself and Gerard. I didn't know what to say."

Rally to move the Worlds back to August

From Merckx to Bartali, from Bugno to Pantani, it is a choir: "Stop the race in October". Altig was very firm: "This year it has affected us deeply: my national team couldn't count on Ullrich and Zabel, who were aiming for the Tour and couldn't be counted on holding their condition until the Worlds in October".

Echavarri, Bugno, Moser and Pantani propose an alternative: for the World Championships to be held after the Giro & Tour, at the time of most attention on cycling".

Laurent Jalabert had this to say: "Since I ride for a Spanish team, la Vuelta is an important point in my season and the Worlds in October don't bother me". But this is a 'yes' of convenience, for which there are 13 others which don't agree.

"The riders are at their maximum when they finish the Tour - says Gino Bartali -, while in October they are already tired". "The current date of the Worlds doesn't bring the best riders together - argues Marco Pantani - If you had the Worlds after the Tour you would have the greatest number of riders at the top. The Worlds should be after the Tour of between the Giro & Tour".

While Eddy Merckx doesn't give many choices: "The current date is inappropiate: it should be raced in the last week of August or at worst in the first week of September".

Gianni Bugno, winner of two Worlds, goes farther: "the beginning of September would seem the more logical date because in no country is there Soccer championships. But in this case, the one penalized would be la Vuelta, which should be brought back to April. Or the Worlds could be raced alternatively after the Giro, after the Tour or after la Vuelta, protecting the interests of all".

Another ex-World Champion, Maurizio Fondriest, speaks of one his preferred subjects: "I have always told Verbruggen that this way it makes the Worlds harder and the too long: it should be placed where it was".

Alfredo Martini: "Having the Worlds at the end of August or at the beginning of September would have a better promotional impact, because in October the public is distracted by soccer and cycling loses a lot of the interest. What about La Vuelta then? It would need to be put back to where it was. And in order to increase the interest in cycling at the end of the season, they could add a couple of World Cup races in September and October".

Regarding la Vuelta, Josť Miguel Echavarri says: "I'm from the old school, therefore I like the old date. However he proposes to have the Worlds in June, to have the new World Champion at the Tour, to give importance to the French Tour and benefit the sponsors. If Brochard had changed teams in '98, would Festina benefit from his victory? As for la Vuelta, the organizers reason in economic terms and since business is going well, I think that they would leave it in September, even if the Worlds comes before".

Pedro Delgado has fought with opposite feelings: "From an ex-rider's perspective I say that most champions will not be in their best condition for the October World Championships. Add to that the weather conditions and I would prefer the Worlds at their original date". "From the Spanish perspective, I think that la Vuelta must fight so that the Worlds don't change the date, since otherwise they would lose many protagonists.

For Francesco Moser, they must return to their origin: "The Worlds to August or start of September, or between the Giro and Tour. The Vuelta? One could move the Tour to mid-July, disputing the World's at the conclusion, ride the Giro in June and la Vuelta in May".

The Dutch Cyclo Cross Jersey Saga

Richard Groenendaal and Adri van der Poel will now be able to start in the first Cycle Cross World Cup race in Eschenbach (Switzerland). Team manager Jan Raas gave permission after discussion with the sponsor Rabobank.

"We don't want the riders to suffer because of poor communications from the UCI. They had to inform us earlier. Van der Poel and Groenendaal will start in the national jersey; but it is a tricot with a surprise. We don't show it yet; but we'll keep the UCI in suspense as long as possible", Raas said.

Teams sign against the UCI

The main cycling teams have signed and sent a document to the Union Cicliste International (UCI), in which they ask them to revoke the limit of 22 riders per professional cycling team. The document is signed by directors from teams: Mapei- GB, ONCE, Telekom, Festina Lotus, Saeco, Rabobank, La Francais des Jeux, TVM, Banesto, Mercatone Uno, Casino, Kelme-Costa Blanca, Roslotto-ZG, Brescialat Oyster, Asics CGA, Cofidis, Refin Mobilvetta, Batik del Monte, Cantina Tollo & Vitalicio.

In the said document, the teams use as an argument for their point, the interests of current and future sponsors to be well represented in as many as possible competitions in the different continents for commercial reasons. In this way they show their worry about this rider limitation, which according to them harms cycling and stops the entrance of important sponsors.