News for September 30, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Spanish World's team confirmed
Spanish National selector Francisco Antequera has confirmed the 13 riders who will contest the World Championships men's road race in Zolder on October 13, and the time trial on October 10. He has chosen Spanish TT champion Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ONCE) and Vuelta winner Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme) to ride the time trial, and Spain has an excellent chance of winning gold in this event.
Defending champion Oscar Freire will spearhead the Spaniards' offensive in the road race, with a solid team of mainly domestiques behind him. There are also riders such as Igor Astarloa, Luis Perez, and Joseba Beloki, who have a chance to get in the breaks. Riders on the reserve list include Manuel Beltran (Team Coast), Rafael Casero (Jazztel-Costa de Almería), David Cañada (Mapei), Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Acqua e Sapone), and Oscar Pererio (Phonak) for the road race, and Toni Tauler (Kelme Costa Blanca) and Santos González (Acqua Sapone) for the time trial. Surprisingly, Angel Casero didn't make any part of the squad.
The full team is as follows:
Oscar Freire (Mapei Quick Step)
Phonak signs Miguel Martinez
According to Dauphiné Libéré, Swiss team Phonak have outbid Cofidis and iBanesto.com for Olympic MTB champion Miguel Martinez, who currently rides for Mapei-Quick Step. The MTB'er turned roadie finished his first Tour de France this year in 44th place at 1'18.42.
Australia finishes on top of World Track Championships
When Sean Eadie and Jobie Dajka faced off in the finals of the men's sprint today in Copenhagen, Denmark, it was already apparent that Australia had had its best Track World's in history. Taking home four gold medals, five silvers and four bronzes, the Australian team beat Great Britain into second place, with the Brits taking home an impressive three gold medals. The biggest surprise was perhaps the French team, which has dominated track cycling for the best part of the last 10 years, but could only manage a single gold in the men's madison on the final day of competition.
Sean Eadie's win in the men's sprint made up for his past disappointments, winning a silver medal in both the Kuala Lumpur and Manchester Commonwealth Games, as well as silver medals in the Team Sprint at the past two World Championships. His famous beard has led to the nicknames 'The Beast', 'Brutus', 'The Bear', 'The Pirate' [ed: how about Rasputin?], and is definitely a strong talking point.
He had the beard at the 2002 National Titles, but shaved it off after the final race. He grew it back for the Commonwealth Games and kept it for the World Titles. However, after his victory in the sprint he had it shaved off, courtesy of French great Arnaud Tournant, who finished fourth in the event.
"I promised him (Tournant) if I won he could be my personal barber," said Eadie whose look after the Frenchman's amateur barber effort was the closest to clean shaven he has been since May 23rd this year.
"That's the last time I shaved, the last time I had a beer and the last time I had something else as well." The beer situation was also soon rectified when he was handed one by a team mate before the medal ceremony, much to the delight of the crowd.
Eadie is no stranger to gimmicks. At the national titles in Perth a few years ago he shaved a Superman 'S' onto his chest hair (of which he has a lot) and every time he took his skin suit off the joke was he should go and find a phone box to get changed in.
Speaking of Australian sprinters, the success didn't stop in Copenhagen today. Both Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke won the respective general classifications of the Circuit Franco Belge and the Paris-Correze stage races, signaling their good form for the World Championships. McEwen won two stages in Franco-Belge, while Cooke won the first stage of Paris-Correze and held on to beat Mapei's Bernard Eisel by one second in the final classification.
The Australian road team for the World's will be announced on Tuesday, October 1, and it's certain that these two riders will be part of the squad.
World Championships news
The Sports Minister's working visit
The Flemish Minister of Sports, Mister Guy Van Hengel and members of his ministerial cabinet paid an informal working visit to the Zolder Circuit. Apart from the explanation of the Road World Championships overall organisation, the Minister was fascinated by the description of the other activities that are organised at the Zolder Circuit, of which there are plenty.
Advance booking extended until October 3
Tickets are still available for the World's, with advance booking prices being maintained until October 3. Tickets can be booked via the KBC Ticket Shop (+32 78 15 51 51) or via the official website www.2x2002.com. There is between 2 and 5€s discount for booking early, as well as the advantage of not having to queue up to get in.
The 1969 World's
In 1969, the World Championship was also organised at the Zolder Circuit, although only for the pros (now the elite). It was a World Championship with a lot of suspense. But in the end, it was the unknown Dutchman Harm Ottenbros, who pilfered the rainbow jersey right under the nose of Belgian Julien Stevens in a two-man sprint, with a difference of hardly a bicycle tire.
That 10th August 1969, the Belgian expectations ran high. Rik Van Looy wouldn't give up his position at the top of cycling and was dying to win. On the other hand, Eddy Merckx, the new super hero, wanted to add another victory to his record of achievement. Unfortunately, things turned out completely different. The rivalry between these two left its mark on the development of the race: Merckx abandoned the race, Van Looy ended in 24th position, but he was not able to play a significant part in the whole story.
Others did: after only 45 km, there was a breakaway with eleven riders, including Dancelli, Stevens, Godefroot and Boifava. Afterwards, Roger De Vlaeminck, Kartens, Ottenbros and a few others joined the leaders.
The abandon of Eddy Merckx opened perspectives for Julien Stevens, who started to believe in his capacities. First, he countered an attack of the Italian Dancelli, then, at 30 km of the finish, he and Ottenbros broke away from the leaders. During the final climb of the Bolderberg, Stevens tried to outmanoeuvre his fellow-escapee, but that didn't work out. Thus, the finale ended in a two-man sprint.
"Although I had 45 successive competition days, including an undermining Tour, behind me, I felt strong. Too strong, that's what I know now. In the final straight line we almost made a tactical standstill, Ottenbros took over, but it was I who launched the sprint and that's where I probably lost the victory. For, the final 50 metres were slightly downhill and there was no wind. Ottenbros was perfectly launched."
Stevens still regrets that his competitor won the jersey with an margin of just a few centimetres.
The 1969 result:
1 Harm Ottenbros (Ned)
So what happened to Ottenbros?
Harm Ottenbros, the then very young world champion of Zolder '69, never turns up any more in the cycling world. He was present at the official presentation of the 2002 Road World Championships at Kinepolis Hasselt on 22nd November 2001, but other than that he is fairly scarce on the cycling circuit.
Ottenbros is now 57 years old, and still looks healthy and in good condition, although he never rides a bike any more. The world title brought Ottenbros very little luck. He never lived up to the expectations, became everything but rich, never won a big race and in 1976, he anonymously left the peloton.
What could have been a marvellous start, turned out to be his deployable perdition. At first, he could make some money out of it, but when the confirmation on the sporting front failed to occur, the end was soon near.
"Partly because of a lot of bad luck. In the 1970 Tour of Andalusia, I rode into a ravine; later on, in the Tour of Flanders, I broke my wrist. Since I was under pressure, I restarted too soon, that led to intestinal problems, so that performing was totally out of the question!"
"In this way, I was partly burned out as bicycle racer. It also confronted me with the fact that in reality, I didn't care much about the whole thing. However, I continued cycling until 1976, mainly because I had to earn my living. But when I quit, it was a relief," Ottenbros admits after all these years.
Ottenbros is a sympathetic man. He admits that the first years after his active career, he got off the rails. In a first stage, he lived a life inspired by sex and drugs, but when he repented, he somehow became a philosopher. For the moment being, he works as tutor of mentally diseased, for almost 20 years. He is an artist as well, but he never brings his oeuvres into the spotlights.
3rd Mondial de la Presse
On October 5 in Koesel, near Zolder, the third ever World Championships for journalists will be held. The race was to be organised in Zolder, but due to road works on the course it had to be moved. There are two categories: Over 45's (60 km/10 laps) and Under 45's (70 km/12 laps). The first race starts at 9:00am followed by the second race at 12:00.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)