It was his first time in Fitchburg, but Eddie Borysewicz was talking about France on the Fourth of July. The director sportif of the U.S. Postal Service pro cycling team has four strong riders in this weekend's Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, but he's aiming to have his racers miss this competition next year in favor of the Tour de France.
The Polish-born Eddie B., as he's known in cycling circles worldwide, was director of the U.S. national team from 1977 to 1987 and cemented his reputation as redeemer of American cycling with nine Olympic medals in 1984.
Borysewicz won't be at the Olympics this time, although some of the U.S. team members, such as time trialist Steve Hegg and world pursuit champion Rebecca Twigg, developed into world-class competitors under his tutelage. Postal Service rider and Olympic team alternate Tyler Hamilton "deserved to be on the Olympic team," Borysewicz said, "but that's my view, my feeling ... Different coaches, different view. It's easy to select from behind."
He was less gracious about national coaching director Chris Carmichael's input in selecting the Olympic road racing course. "Mr. Carmichael made a mistake," he said, "not to use the home advantage here." He said the course favors sprinters, and "there's 10 much faster guys, minimum, than Lance (Armstrong)," the U.S. team leader.
As for the Tour de France, the Postal Service and other team sponsors are putting more money -- meaning "more riders, and more expensive riders" -- into 1997, and "there are going to be a lot of changes in our team," Borysewicz said.
Mark Gorski, 1984 gold medalist in the Olympic sprint, will succeed Borysewicz next year as director sportif. At 57, Borysewicz is the oldest director sportif in professional cycling, and he said it's time to step aside but he'll still be with the team.
Gorski departs tomorrow for France, where the Tour is under way, "to sign riders," Borysewicz said. "He has money, so it's a real opportunity. Several world-class riders have an interest in our team."
As for who Gorski will bring on board in the coaching department, Borysewicz said, Carmichael may be looking for a job. "I saw his name on the list," he said, as well as that of U.S. Olympic men's road coach Roy Knickman.
Carmichael has said more than once that he wishes he had "five Lances," and Borysewicz responds, "Why doesn't he produce Lances? That's his job. And anyway, Lance is not his product. Lance is my product."
He said the U.S. Cycling Federation's biggest mistake is that it "lacks a juniors program" and he faulted Carmichael because "he doesn't even have a juniors coach. That's my criticism of the USCF, and I'm a board member. I am going to quit because I can't stand it."
"The federation must go in a different direction, and if after the Olympic Games, the results are not good, that's a coach's life: You have to resign," Borysewicz said. Carmichael "survived many years after the fiasco in Barcelona," where the United States in 1992 won only one Olympic cycling medal, Erin Hartwell's bronze in the kilo. "Maybe Motorola will pick him up."
Motorola, of course, has already said it will no longer sponsor America's top team next year, and if the four Motorola riders on the Olympic team aren't winners, the team may be hard-pressed to find a new deep-pockets sponsor.
"There's always migration" of riders between pro teams, Borysewicz said. "When Motorola collapses, Motorola riders could come to the Postal team." Yes, he said "when," not "if."
However, he also talked about how great it could be for
cycling in America if there are two American teams in the Tour de France.
"Motorola needs the U.S. Postal Service for competition. The media doesn't have
an interest unless there's competition, and media create the sport. Sponsors
have to see media."
Frank McCormack of Leicester, the Saturn rider who's an alternate on the U.S. Olympic team, showed up at a local time trial Tuesday and set a course record. McCormack rode the 10.2-mile event, run by Wachusett Cycle and Multisport, in 21:05. That's 29 mph.
The previous record, 21:57, was set June 18 by 16-year-old Lewis Elliot of Fort Myers, Fla., who's been training with Toby Stanton's up-and-coming squad of juniors in Holden and is racing with the pros this weekend in the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic. Elliot broke his own record Tuesday, hitting 21:54. McCormack is in a different league, Elliot said, "so I'm happy to be within a minute of him."
The time trials start at 6 p.m. every Tuesday near the Old
Stone Church, at Routes 12, 140 and 110 in West Boylston. The course follows
Route 140 to Route 62 to Greenland Road to Route 12.
Fran Benoit of Worcester took the "bikes of yesteryear" theme seriously last Sunday at the Seven Hills Wheelmen's 25th anniversary bash at Trout Brook Reservation in Holden. Benoit not only brought a 26-year-old bicycle to display, he rode the five-speed Raleigh Sprite for the entire 35-mile loop, including two uphill approaches to Princeton Center and the climb up Mountain Road to Mount Wachusett.
At 53, Benoit is often off the front on club rides, and
although he said his 1963 collectible "weighs twice as much as my Cannondale,"
he didn't lose any ground on the Raleigh. However, he complained, without toe
clips or clipless pedals, the riding was "all push and no pull."
TIP OF THE HELMET -- To Fran Oullette, 57, of Spencer, who won two silver medals and a bronze in cycling in the Massachusetts Senior Games June 14-16 in Springfield despite not having raced in 25 years. His second-place finishes were in the 20K and 40K road races, and he came in third in the 5K time trial. Bob Evans of Bedford took all the cycling golds in the 55-59 age group. Oullette, a speed skater who uses cycling for cross-training, started bike racing in the '50s, training at the former Westboro speedway with Olympian Arthur M. Longsjo and others.
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