News on the Eve of the Road Race

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).

The Course

   * The worlds circuit is so steep in parts that many race photographers
have decided against taking pictures of the riders from the pillion seats
of motorcycles. (I bet G.Watson won't chicken out!)

   * Eddy Merckx, not known for complaining about a race's difficulty, has
been vocally critical of the mountainous 17.7 kms circuit chosen for the
road race.

   *It is generally agreed that the course is one of the toughest in the
74-year history of the world championships.

   * The Colombians are picked to control the men's race after taking a
fourth place in the individual time trial and because they are used to the
high altitude and mountainous terrain. Oliverio Rincon, from the
high-altitude region and familiar with the roads around Duitama, is a rider
to watch.