News for June 19, 1997

McGregor fails in hour attempt

Britain's Yvonne McGregor, 36, failed to recapture the women's world one hour cycling record on Wednesday. She covered 47.608 kms in her attack on the 48.159 kms set by world and Olympic champion Jeannie Longo last November in the altitude of Mexico City. Halfway through Wednesday's attempt, McGregor was faster than Longo by seven seconds but faded in the second half.

US Postal

The U.S. Postal Service international cycling team was one of six wild-card entries selected Tuesday to compete in the Tour de France.

The team will become only the second American-based outfit to compete in the sport's premier event.

The team, founded two years ago, will include Tour de France veterans Vyacheslav Ekimov of Russia, Adriano Baffi of Italy and Jean-Cyril Robin of France, as well as three U.S. riders.

George Hincapie, a native of Framingham, New York, who resides in Charlotte, North Carolina; Marty Jemison of Salt Lake City; and Tyler Hamilton of Marblehead, Massachusetts will be on the nine-rider Postal Service squad.

Ekimov, a multiple world champion, has finished as high as 18th in the Tour de France. Hincapie, a 1996 Olympian, participated in the event last year, but withdrew following a crash. Hamilton and Jemion will participate for the first time.

Three other U.S. riders _ Darren Baker, Frankie Andreu, and Bobby Julich _ are expected to compete for the Codfidis team of France.

Lance Armstrong of Austin, Texas, the former road world champion who is recovering from testicular and brain cancer, is the captain of Cofidis, but will not compete this year.

The defunct Motorola team, formerly sponsored by 7-Eleven, was the first U.S. team to compete in the Tour de France in 1986.

``This is the culmination of 10 years of hard word,'' said Tom Weisel, president of the U.S. Postal Service team. ``We knew going into this season we would have a team capable of racing with the best in the world and we have proved it all season long.''

The 84th Tour de France, which will include 22 teams of nine riders each, begins July 5 in Normandy and continues through July 27.

The world's top 16 teams are selected to compete in the annual event in January. Six remaining teams are given at-large berths based on season-to-date results.

The U.S. Postal Service team has won 27 races this season, including two stages victories in the recently completed Dauphine Libre, a Tour de France tuneup.

"Now that we have received an invitation to the Tour, our next goal is to win a stage and place as high as we can in the general (overall) classification,'' said Weisel. ``We are not going to France just to participate; we will be a player throughout the race.''

Mark Gorski, the 1984 Olympic sprint gold medalist, is the team's director.

Italians dominate Mediterranean Games

Italy, which has the largest contingent at this southern port city (Bari), added to its lead in the overall medal tally with gold in the men's cycling road race, which was contested under a scorching sun. Temperatures reached 38 degrees Celsius (100 F).

Sixteen of the 74 entrants failed to complete.

Men's road race, 149.6 kms:

 1. Salvatore Commesso, Italy	     3.30.13  
 2. Andrej Hauptman Slovenia		1:27
 3. Vincent Templier France		1:28

Fat leaders try to look cool on bikes

By Lorrayne Smith France and Germany may be key players in driving the European Union forward, but it was the British, Dutch and Austrians who led the way on Tuesday when EU leaders at the Amsterdam summit got on their bikes.

Taking a break before lunch at their meeting in Amsterdam, the leaders gathered on a canal bridge for a traditional summit ``family photograph'' and to receive shiny new seven-speed bicycles from the Mayor of Amsterdam.

After a mayoral warning to avoid getting caught in the tram tracks, ``because I'll have to pick up the hospital bill'', British Prime Minister Tony Blair made the fastest start and sped ahead.

Blair, who earlier called for a ``change in gear'' to bring Europe closer to its citizens, was among the first to cross the finishing line 100 metres away, together with Dutch Premier Wim Kok and Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima.

Portly Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene came in closely behind the front runners. New French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, Sweden's Goran Persson, and Spain's Jose Maria Aznar also joined in the fun.

Another to welcome the gift was Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, a keen cyclist, who complained of having to go without his usual cycle ride on Sunday because he had had to prepare for the summit.

But German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, French President Jacques Chirac, European Commission President Jacques Santer, and some others politely declined to mount their Dutch gifts.

With over one bicycle per head and not a hill in sight, Amsterdam is renowned for being the most cycle-friendly town in Europe.

Asked beforehand whether the bikes would fit all and accommodate the weight of Europe's bulkier leaders, such as Kohl, a city official noted the Dutch-made cycle frames were ``one size, but very strong''.

Richard to miss Tour

Olympic road racing champion Pascal Richard, out of the current Tour of Switzerland following surgery to remove a cyst on his inner thigh, said on Tuesday he may also miss the Tour de France.

``The cyst is much larger and deeper than we first thought,'' said Richard, who had his operation on Monday evening. ``I should have to stay another three or four days in the hospital.

``I can't even think of climbing onto my bike again for at least another two weeks.''

With the Tour de France starting on July 5, that would leave Richard just a few days to prepare for the three-week endurance test.

The Swiss rider has indicated he might instead concentrate on races after the northern summer, including the October world championships.

The cyst is just the latest in a string of setbacks in an injury-plagued season for the Olympic champion.

In March, Richard was struck by a car while out on a training ride, sustaining a cracked sternum, broken left palm and two broken fingers that sidelined him for six weeks.

Leiden/Netherlands, Randstad Classic, Women

 1. Mansveld (Gasselternijveen) 105 km in 2.30.10
 2. Van Alebeek (Schijndel)
 3. Brunen (Swifterbant)
 4. Bras (Culemborg)
 5. Bos (Oldekerk)

Haderslev, Denmark, June 14

 1 Rik Van Slijcke (Bel) RDM-Astra
 2 Mikael Kyneb (Den) PSV Koln
 3 Jorgen Blygard (Den)

Wuustwezel, Belgium

 1 Joris van Mechelen
11 Tim Bennet (Australia)

Waarschot, Belgium

 1 Mindaugas Goncares (Lithuania)
 9 Matthew Atkins (Australia)

Grammene, Belgium, June 15

 1 Peter de Corte
 3 Matthew Atkins (Australia)
10 Jerome Walters (Australia)

Deftinge, Belgium

 1 Steven Verheyen
 2 Chris Long (Australia)
 6 Sheard Ashley (Australia)

Bornem, Belgium, June 16

 1 Patrick van Buggenhout
 7 Matthew Cann (Australia)
13 Darren Strauch (Australia)

Bedum, Netherlands, June 17, 100 km:

 1 Anthony Theus	Giant-Lowik-P&O		2.16.23
 2 Allard Engels	WSV Emmen	
 3 Tim Bannet		Australia	
 4 Tom Cordes		Tegeltoko
 5 Peter van Ommen	KWC Kampen

Roslotto-ZG Mobili

Roslotto-ZG Mobili has selected the 9 riders for the Tour: Ferrigato, Djavanian, Fincato, Gontchenkov, Kokorin, Padrnos, Sgnaolin, Strazzer & Zen.

New Spanish Team

The new professional cycling team, Deportpublic, which will be directed by Maximino Perez, had their presentation today in Estepona (Malaga) with the sponsorship of the city of Estepona, under the motto of "Estepona en marcha" (Estepona in march). Some of the riders that will be part of the team are Eleuterio Anguita (Spanish amateur champion in 1989), Jose Manuel Uria (this year's winner of la Vuelta a Asturias), Portuguese, Vitor Manuel Gomes (Fourth at la Vuelta a Valencia & at la Semana Catalana in 1997) & Russian Sergei Smetanine, winner of the last Clasica de Alcobendas. The lineup will be completed by brothers, Daniel & Alfredo Clavero, Francisco Javier Cerezo, Ramon Garcia Espaqa, Jose Manuel Garcia, Victor Manuel Moratilla, Jose Luis Santamaria, Juan Carlos Vicario, Japanese, Junichi Kikuta, Dane, Claus Moller & Russian, Andrei Zintchenko. Deportpublic, which occupies the 25th position in te World Rankings as of May 25, will aprticipate in la Vuelta Ciclista a Espana, Spanish Championship, la Vuelta a Cataluna, el Memorial Agostinho & la Vuelta a Portugal, amongst others.