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Andy Hampsten’s eighth place overall, Phil Anderson’s stage win, and its eighth place from 22 teams in the team time trial, stand out as the Motorola squad’s main achievements in the 1991 Tour de France. Such results were better than many teams can boast. And certainly they went down well with the sponsor, Motorola, that has renewed its commitment for another two years.
However, bearing in mind Motorola’s desire to become one of the Tour’s top teams, now is the time to assess what it needs to do to achieve that status. Team manager Jim Ochowicz gave this view: “I think that for next year we can’t really expect to do much better on the individual (classification) because if you want to do that you have to hire Charly Mottet, Laurent Fignon, Pedro Delgado, or Miguel Indurain or someone like that. We have talked some of those people, but sometimes it’s just not a possibility. We will continue to talk, but I think for us we are more interested in developing the next superstar rather than pay for one now.
“Andy (Hampsten) is certainly capable of finishing in the first 10 again, but I think we will be more of a threat next year in terms of stages. I think we will be a stronger team overall and much more of a threat every day.”
Does Motorola believe that winning the Tour de France is a must for it to feel sponsorship has been worthwhile? The sponsor’s representative on the Tour, Sheila Griffin, said, “I don’t think we believe we have to win the Tour but we want to work toward our potential. For example, if the team had the potential to win, then it would be appropriate to think that way.
“For us, the Tour de France this year was the same as the rest of the program… media exposure. So I think with Phil Anderson’s stage win and Andy Hampsten being in the top 10, we definitely accomplished our objective.”
So… what were the positives and negatives of Motorola’s 1991 Tour? To best assess these factors, we looked at the nine riders’ performance, adding some spice to the debate by asking five experienced race followers to award points out of 10 for each team member. The five “experts” were VeloNews’s editor John Wilcockson; its European correspondent Rupert Guinness; freelance photographer Graham Watson; Hotline Cycling general manager Louis Viggio; and team manager Ochowicz — who also gave a written assessment. The scores have been tallied to make a ranking out of 50.
Andy Hampsten: (8/RG), (9/JW), (7/GW), (9/JO), (8/LV). Total: 41.
Ochowicz: “Andy performed up to his capabilities. He had a few bad days when he was a little bit sick. He missed a couple of opportunities, but then again he made up for that by making other opportunities for himself in the race. I think if you look at Andy’s performance, discounting the time trials, he was one of the top five riders in the race.”
Phil Anderson: (8/RG), (9/JW), (8/GW), (10/ JO), (7/LV). Total: 40.
“Phil rode every day to win, except in the obvious stages where he didn’t have any chance, like in the mountains. Phil was definitely the guy who showed the most in a leadership position in that he was trying to make opportunities. In my opinion, Phil is probably one of the most professional riders in the peloton.”
Ron Kiefel: (6/RG), (6/JW), (5/GW), (6/JO), (6/LV). Total: 29.
“From the standpoint of Ron’s season this was his best performance. He did a very good team time trial, which is his specialty. It is one of his reasons for being on our Tour de France team. He also rode well when needed on the flatter stages. But overall, I think Ron was less than what we wanted in terms of performance for having ridden the race as many times as he has.”
Andy Bishop: (5/RG), (5/JW), (4/GW), (7/JO), (3/LV). Total: 24.
“He was a bit like Ron. It was Andy’s third Tour de France. Again he did a good team time trial… better than he was supposed to. I think he is still learning. Because he is young and still learning he made some mistakes. He got a little run down physically, but for the most part he’s trying to get up there and cover breaks.”
Steve Bauer: (4/RG), (4/JW), (4/GW), (6/JO), (3/LV). Total: 21.
“Steve just never really found his legs even though he did have a good team time trial. He was really hammering that day. Then he had two other days where he had some good feeling for the race. But other than that he was really below his true level.”
Urs Zimmermann: (4/RG), (4/JW), (2/GW), (5/JO), (6/LV). Total: 21.
“I had expected more from Urs in the mountains. I didn’t expect anything from him before then. He didn’t really perform at all in the mountains. When you look at where he was in the Tour de Suisse and where he was here, he just wasn’t there.”
Mike Carter: (5/RG), (4/JW), (2/GW), (7/JO), (4/LV). Total: 22.
Eliminated on stage 12 to Jaca, after suffering from saddle sores and general fatigue. “Mike just didn’t have a chance because of something physical. He had a problem. But I have got to give him good marks just for making it to the Pyrénées. That was the part we were most worried about. He made it, but had this problem. If you can’t sit on your bike, you can’t race.”
Dag-Otto Lauritzen: (5/RG), (6/JW), (4/GW), (8/JO), (3/LV). Total: 26.
Did not start stage 19 because of infection from crash injury on right hand. “Dag had a good team time trial. He kept trying to ride with the breaks, he was in a couple. He was one of the guys who rode up front all the time.”
Sean Yates: (8/RG), (8/JW), (8/GW), (8/JO), (4/LV). Total: 36.
Did not start stage 16 to Gap after severing an artery in his right arm after a four-man crash with Anderson on stage 15. Also crashed on stage 7, damaging a nerve in his left thigh. “Sean would get 10 points for his team time trial. But he had a bit of bad luck crashing at the wrong time in the race. But again, he is always riding up front and chasing all the breaks.”