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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

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2020 Tour de France | 2019 Giro d'Italia

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Legendary coach Eddie Borysewicz dies at 81

VeloNews posted this sad news:

According to reports in Polish media, legendary cycling coach Edward Borysewicz, known in the U.S. by his nickname “Eddie B,” has died at age 81 in Poland.

The news was reportedly broken on social media by Wacław Skarul, the former president of the Polish Cycling Association, who said that Borysewicz died from complications due to COVID-19.

“Another sad news – cycling coach Edward Borysewicz is dead. The harvest of the coronavirus is intimidating. RiP.” Skarul tweeted.

Borysewicz famously coached the U.S. Olympic cycling team from 1977 until 1987, and his coaching helped propel the careers of Greg LeMond, Andy Hampsten, Lance Armstrong, Rebecca Twigg, and other top American riders of the 1980s and 1990s. American cyclists vaulted onto the international stage under Borysewicz’s direction, and he led the U.S. team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, where Americans took nine medals, four of them gold.

That success placed the U.S. on the international stage in road and track cycling for the coming decades. It also advanced the U.S. Cycling Federation, which eventually became USA Cycling.

A top junior racer in Poland, Borysewicz became a coach after his own career was cut short. He coached Polish riders to top results in the 1970s before agreeing to join the budding U.S. cycling federation. In his early years with the American federation, he led the development programs, which saw him coach the budding junior rider, Greg LeMond, at races in the U.S. and Europe.

In a 2017 interview with Pezcyclingnews, Borysewicz said that LeMond was the most gifted cyclist he ever worked with during his decades-long career.

“He was a diamond,” Borysewicz said in the interview. “If he hadn’t gotten shot, he would have won the Tour 10 more times, with no drugs. A diamond is indestructible; all you need to do is polish it. He was better than Lance.”

You can read the entire story here.

Iljo Keisse: “I will absolutely be back at Gent Six-Day next year”

Here’s post from Keisse’s Deceuninck-Quick Step team

A seven-time winner of the prestigious event, the Belgian talked about his memories and best moments at the race.

The Gent Six-Day is one of my most favourite weeks of the year and I am really sad to not be there now. It is never a stated goal for me or the team, but it is a special and unique event that I always look forward to. Gent is the reason that I got involved in cycling and it made me really want to be a professional cyclist, first on the track, where I started my journey to racing on the road. Every year that I go back to the velodrome in Kuipke is like going home for me and back to my roots.

I watched the Gent 6-Day back in 2011 with writer Les Woodland. Here's one of the videos I posted on YouTube

I discovered track cycling because my father was a coach for younger riders and they always did their training in the winter on the Kuipke velodrome. There is a new one in Gent now but before there was only Kuipke, so we always trained there. During my school days I was allowed to go and watch the Six-Day until the first interval, which was about 9:30-10pm, and then I had to go home because I had school the next day. I would be sitting in the infield watching the riders and asking for autographs, then I would go back home to bed, go to school the next day and then the back to the track, so I was always there, and it ignited my love of track cycling.

The event is a unique event, with a lot of people in an old and tiny building, with its own unique ambience. On the infield there is a special atmosphere where people go to have fun, drink some beers and catch up with old friends. Some people come to watch the race and some people come to socialise and enjoy the party, which makes it an amazing mix with the music. It is like time has stood still and it’s like going being to the ‘70s, where nothing has changed and it still works as an event. Nowhere else is like this and other Six-Day events are different.

My debut there as a professional was in 2003 but I had raced there as a junior in the Future Six-Day event and then again in the U23s before that. My professional debut was a big step as back then there were six teams of two riders who stayed all winter together for all the different events, which isn’t like now. To be able to ride with the same partner all the time is a big advantage, I remember when as I was with someone new and I suffered – we lost around 36 laps! Then in 2005 I had my first victory with Matthew Gilmore, which was really special because Matthew’s previous partner was a big idol of mine, Etienne De Wilde. When Etienne stopped, he was looking for a partner to ride with at the Olympics, which we did in 2004. Then in 2005 we won for the first time in Gent, which was really special.

It would be really difficult for me to pick out one big memory, as I have had a lot of very, very good times, but also some lows. For sure on the of the best was my first win in 2005, which was something else. The years that followed that I was really focused on the track and I felt like I was at my best, before I switched my attention to the road, and while I went back for fun, I didn’t have that specialist condition and I hated to lose. Last year, myself and Cav (ed. Mark Cavendish) were lucky enough to be backed by Maes, but it turned out to be a really difficult week. Cav had a bad crash on the first night and he suffered a lot, so we were out of contention really early. We kept trying, but we were always behind and it was the first time in a decade that I was not on the podium, but it was just bad luck.

I will absolutely be back next year! I was really hoping to go this year, but with Covid and that compact arena, it was always going to be difficult. I was meant to be riding with Michael Mørkøv, together with whom I won in 2015, and he sent me a message yesterday. We have both just finished Grand Tours, which are never normally so late in the year and are the perfect way to get into condition for this kind of event. We could have ridden without a lot of specific work and Michael was saying how great it would have been to ride it in this shape. Hopefully we can still compete together next year, I look forward to that!

Jumbo-Visma Development Team signs three talents

The team sent me this release:

The Dutchmen Loe van Belle and Darren van Bekkum and the Norwegian Johannes Staune-Mittet will join the Jumbo-Visma Development Team from 1 January 2021. The three juniors will make their debut in the U23 peloton next year in the yellow and black jersey and sign for two seasons.

Current Dutch junior time trial champion Van Belle, who won European track titles on scratch and omnium last month, has already trained with the Jumbo-Visma Development Team several times last year. “I already know most of the boys from the junior category. In the past year I have already got to know the team during training. To finally be able to wear that shirt myself from 1 January is cool. I hope to further develop myself within the Development Team and to achieve good results. In the end, everyone has the ambition to end up in the World Tour. The transfers of Gijs Leemreize and Olav Kooij have shown that this step is certainly possible. That’s what I’m going for too.”

Van Bekkum is relatively new in the cycling world and has only been competing since 2018. “My second year with the juniors has, of course, turned out differently than hoped for in the past year. There were hardly any races and I was forced to try to enjoy online races. At the KNWU training camp, organised in collaboration with Team Jumbo-Visma, I showed that I can push the pedals hard. That’s where the contact with Jumbo-Visma Development Team originated. Expectations for the coming years I don’t really want to pronounce yet. First I need to gain some experience. I am in the right place for that. The guidance here is top-notch and I am looking forward to working with this team to make steps in my career.”

Staune-Mittet, Norwegian Junior Cross-Country Ski Champion, is also looking forward to his time with his new team. “It’s a very nice step for me. I think it is the best place for me to develop myself. From the first contact with the team it felt right and when I finally heard that I could join the team, I was very happy. I look forward to being part of the culture within the team. I know Tobias Foss a bit and we talked about the team. He is very pleased with the team and recommended this transfer.”

Head of Development Robbert de Groot looks back on the past season with a positive feeling, despite the limited race calendar. “Where we were able to race, we showed ourselves. The fact that two boys will turn pro next season is a boost for the whole team. That is a great development and we hope to be able to continue this trend in the coming years. With Van Belle, Van Bekkum and Staune-Mittet we are adding a lot of talent to the current team.”

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