Claudio Cappuccino

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Directeur Sportivs, favourites
« on: June 26, 2015, 16:18 »
It's pretty simple, who are they? Why do you feel that way?

It would be nice if people would come up with a nice story, not just names.

I'll kick off:

Not surprisingly:

Peter Post

Well, what to say about this Vasily Tikhonov of cycling, he even looks like him:

well, at least I think so.

He wasnt a shabby cyclist himself, in the sixtees, mostly on the track, but also winning Paris Roubaix, one of or still the fastest in history. Granted, there were not as many cobbled sections as in recent history.

In 1974 he started the famous TI-Raleigh team, perhaps people have read about that team, you could recognize them with these shirts:

that should ring a bell, or two.

At first the teams focus lay on the track, untill the sponsors upped the budget. A cohort of Dutch riders stormed through the peloton with the likes of Raas, Kneteman, Kuiper, Priem, Vandevelde etc etc and the victories kept coming, and coming.

What was the secret? Many say it came down to the cadavre discipline Post demanded from his riders, the main reason also why Jan Raas started his own team in 1983, why Breuking left for PDM etc etc. Imho the TI-Raleigh squad were an unique bunch of extreme good mostly Dutch riders, a once in a lifetime thing.

To be honest, I did miss most part of the history of TI-Raleigh, at least I was there when the successor 'Team Panasonic' wasnt so shabby as well.

That shirt symbolized cycling for me in those days, with Peter Post as their leader, and, not to forget, Jan Raas and his Kwantum Hallen - Yoko squad as the enemy.

The Post - Raas story would dominate Dutch cycling for about ten years, with the Tour 1992 as ''highlight''.

Echoes has written about this pretty good.

In my humble opinion still the greatest DS in my lifetime.

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  • « Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 17:26 by Claudio Cappuccino »


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    Re: Directeur Sportivs, favourites
    « Reply #1 on: June 26, 2015, 16:40 »
    Guimard's got to be on the shortlist. Going from Van Impe to Hinault to Fignon, to Lemond he DSed the dominant riders of their times. Seven Tour victories says it all, but we can also add Giros, L-B-Ls, Vueltas, Roubaix, Worlds, basically the lot. That Renault team was essentially the representation of the nation, and the jersey was pretty damn cool. I first started watching cycling in that period, and everything about it (apart from Richard Keys's pre-epic-bantz hairy hands) was impossibly cool to me. Even that Systeme U jersey looked cool.

    Here's an example:

    Just look at those things on his feet! Those shades! The tan! Spectacular.

    Pretty much all of his riders said he was the best at bringing the best out of them. Even the Badger said that you don't argue with Guimard. And if the Badger says that, well, we can't really argue can we?

    And he DSed cuddly old Marc Madiot, and for that I love him.
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  • Echoes

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    Re: Directeur Sportivs, favourites
    « Reply #2 on: January 30, 2016, 14:35 »
    I'd like to pay tribute to the late Erik De Vlaeminck. He was not referred to as DS though but still the greatest cyclocross coach of all time. Some would argue he's still the greatest rider in the field which I don't agree with but his greatness is that he was able to hand over all his talent and technique over to the new générations and that - between us - is more important, isn"t it?

    As a rider, Erik De Vlaeminck was very modern in terms of training methods. Backed up by his physical trainer Georges Debbaut (who also passed away in 2014) his trainings were very diversified, he trained on intervals, fitness (he's a local champion of gymnastics), some derny-paced training, etc.

    When his younger brother Roger was around 17 (by 1964/65), Erik took him "in his suitcase" to some of the crosses he raced in Switzerland or in Luxembourg and trained him. "In trainings he sometimes stayed with me to make sure that I did what he had in his mind", said Roger after the news report of Erik's dead. That's how Roger De Vlaeminck also got in touch with the new training approach, also under the advice of Georges Debbaut. Same goes for their good mate Jean-Pierre Monseré, advised by Jan Derluyn (see my Monseré biography). A rider like Albert 'Berten' Van Damme is 5 years older than Erik. He was a very good rider in the early sixties but when Erik came up he emulated his training methods. Though he had already learnt about Interval Training in the late fifties, it's early the Erik De Vlaeminck methods that he emulated and that made him a top cyclocross rider in the later part of his career and earned him the World Title in 1974 at age 33. Albert Zweifel also said that in his debut, the De Vlaeminck brothers were dominating the field because they were more "Professional" and he also emulated them.

    Erik De Vlaeminck became national coach in 1989 and the Belgian fed also gave him the mission to prospect some new field for cross organization along with Van Damme. But Van Damme resigned because he never agreed with Erik. Actually Erik invented the modern cross in which riders would stay on the bike most of the time, the paths had to be wide enough, while until the eighties, you had real adventure looking routes through prairies, on small bridges, etc. We may regret it, modern-day routes seem sterilized but at least there's less room for luck.

    Erik is also the first rider to jump over the planks. He did not do that in competition though but a show on the BRTN in the eighties showed Erik and Danny De Bie passing over the planks on the bike. De Bie is indeed the first to do that in competition. However the show showed that De Bie's technique was inefficient and not emulated. He just posed his front wheel on the plank at low speed, and then furher moved on to put his rear wheel on the same plank. Erik approached the plank at high speed and jumped with his two wheels in the air not even touching the plank. A maestria that can only be compared to Tom Meeusen's or Mathieu Van der Poel's. He was in his forties back then.

    So as national coach, Erik impressed with his technique. He noticed Nys very early by 1994 and was very active with this new generation Nys, Wellens, Vannoppen, S. Vanthourenhout when they were juniors, afterwards Bart Aernouts and Kevin Pauwels got junior World Titles when coached by Erik De Vlaeminck. He organized very long training sessions during which he could be seen mounting his bike again (even when in his fifties!) in order to show his technique. He for example taught them how to crash, because if you have to crash, it's crucial that you should crash in a good way. He made them descend a toboggan on the bike, etc.

    The result of which is a decade of total dominance for Belgium over cyclocross. Between 1997 & 2007 Belgium just lost one World title to Groenendaal in 2000, in weird circumstances but beside that episode, the Belgians trained by Erik were in a league of their own. Until 2008 when Boom got the title, nobody could even figure out that the title would escape a Belgian, while in the early nineties Belgian cyclocross was at an all-time low. Of course some of these riders were suspected of doping (Mario De Clercq, e.g.) but one cannot underrate the impact that Erik De Vlaeminck had on modern cyclocross. He retired as national coach in 2002 but his junior pupils started winning afterwards (Bart Wellens World Champion in 2003/4 and Nys in 2005 + Nys dominated all the rankings).

    By 2008 Erik De Vlaeminck started advising Niels Albert and made him a pro World Champion in 2009. He also had Enrico Franzoi under his belt.

    Sven Nys thanks Erik for the cross technique that he's learnt from him

    Niels Albert remembered the training in the "Kluisbos" and dedicates his 2009 World Title to him.

    When the organizers of the Overijse cross announced a minute silence in memory of Erik De Vlaeminck, several riders took of their helmet out of respect for the great man because they realized how much they owe to him. Michael Vanthourenhout, Tom Meeusen, Klaas Vantornout, ... Normally they all keep their helmet when there's a minute silence, to keep concentrate. It's understandable. But the fact that some took it off was a very nice touch.
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    Re: Directeur Sportivs, favourites
    « Reply #3 on: January 31, 2016, 02:22 »
    A great obituary for one of the biggest and most influential names in cyclo-cross. :cool

    He made them descend a toboggan on the bike, etc.
    Wha...!? :o
    Are there pictures of that?
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    Re: Directeur Sportivs, favourites
    « Reply #5 on: February 06, 2016, 16:09 »
    It's not easy to decide what the criteria are to assess a good team director.

    Here in Belgium it stands clear that the team director or advisor who had the most champions under his belt was Guillaume "Lomme" Driessens. He started advising Fausto Coppi by 1947, he also advised Charly Gaul (for a dozen years) and Federico Bahamontes, led teams with Stan Ockers, Briek Schotte, Raymond Impanis, Wim Van Est, Julio Jimenez he built a fearsome team around Rik Van Looy (the famous Faema "Red Guard" of the Emperor), Peter Post, Noël Foré, Jef Planckaert, Guido Reybrouck, Herman Van Springel, Eddy Merckx, Patrick Sercu, Italo Zilioli, Joseph Bruyère, Freddy Maertens (he was the driving force behind his come back in 1981), Michel Pollentier, Marc Demeyer, Sean Kelly, Marc Sergeant, Fons De Wolf, Jan Raas (in the Kwantum team, after the Post/Raas clash), Hennie Kuiper, Adri Van der Poel. He then started the career of Johan Capiot and also led the Soviet Alpha Lum riders during the 1989 Three Days of De Panne: Sergei Sukhoruchenkov and Dimitri Konychev among others.

    However, Lomme never really was a discoverer of new talents. He worked with all these guys when they had already been established in the pro peloton (for some of them even past their prime, so was De Vlaeminck).

    Briek Schotte, on the other hand, was a true discoverer of new talents. He was the first to notice the talent of Johan De Muynck and Eric Leman, which is more creditable than noticing Jean-Pierre Monseré and Roger De Vlaeminck whose talent was known to anybody when they turned pro.

    Briek Schotte worked with Jef Planckaert, Rik Van Looy, Noël Foré, Walter Godefroot, Herman Van Springel, Eric Leman, Ferdinand Bracke & Tony Houbrechts (with the Belgian B-Team at the Tour of France), Erik & Roger De Vlaeminck, Jean-Pierre Monseré, André Dierickx, Joop Zoetemelk, Johan De Muynck, Freddy Maertens, Michel Pollentier, Marc Demeyer, Cyrille Guimard, Ronald De Witte, Sean Kelly, Joaquim Agostinho, Joseph Bruyère, Steven Rooks and Gerrie Knetemann among others.

    In 1959, at age 40, Briek Schotte raced his last season for Dr Mann-Flandria. He was some kind of a road captain and raced his 20th Tour of Flanders but broke his fork and retired. It was clear that he was going to become a Directeur sportif for Flandria. His first leader was Jef Planckaert but in 1962, the Flandria manager Pol Claeys had the opportunity to get Rik Van Looy and merge with Faema (beware, nothing to do with the later Merckx's Faema) and that also meant he contracted Lomme Driessens as Team Director #1. Schotte was reduced to the status of assistant. But in 1963, Driessens and Van Looy went to GBC and Schotte got the team back. In 1964, Van Looy and Driessens clashed and Van Looy went to the new Solo Superia team with his father-in-law as DS, Hugo Marien.

    Superia and Flandria, that was long story. The first Flandria bikes were produced in 1896 by Louis Claeys (they were then called "De Vlaamse Leeuw") in Zedelgem and left it to his brothers Aimé, Jerome, Remi and Alidor. In 1910 they produced 150 bikes. Louis' brother Aimé developed the factory. They started producing motorbikes, boilers and they also had plans in Portugal (partnership with Agueda). However the Claeys family are still struggling for the Louis Claeys inheritance and in 1956, while Aimé was still expanding his factory in Torhout, his brother Remi built his own factory in Bruges, which would be Superia. And by 1964 Superia entered the pro peloton with Rik Van Looy. After that Aimé's son and successor Pol (1933-2011) who had entered the peloton in 1959 chose to get Driessens back to Flandria and thereby reducing Schotte for a second time to the role of assistant. The aim was to put sticks in the wheels of the Flandria riders. So for example, in a Tour of France stage in 1965, Van Looy and Reybrouck were with the two of them leading towards Montpellier. Each time Reybrouck seemed willing to take the turn, Driessens shouted: "Guido, in the Wheel!".

    By 1966, both Flandria and Superia riders were kept from a selection to the Worlds in San Sebastian because of their behaviour and that meant the retirement of both teams from the peloton for 1967.

    However by 1968, Pol Claeys changed his mind and resumed a pro team with Briek as manager and ahead were the glory days of Flandria which quickly became a super-team. So for example in 1969 they had Walter Godefroot, Roger De Vlaeminck, Erik De Vlaeminck, André Dierickx, Jean-Pierre Monseré and Eric Leman. By 1970, Godefroot was replaced by Joop Zoetemelk.

    However, with Schotte, there was no unity in the team (he organized it a bit the way cycling was raced in his days, Schotte was a legendary rider in the forties). Some lesser talents were gregarios but every rider with a little bit of talent had their chances. That made them lose quite a number of races. At Paris-Roubaix 1970, they were with the four of them in the lead with Merckx: the De Vlaeminck's, Leman and Monseré but suddenly Leman attacked while they had better stay together. Jempi Monseré went to see De Vlaeminck & Leman afterwards in the shower and asked the latter why he attacked. Roger said: 'Jean-Pierre, don't speak too loud, there are journalists here, there's been enough misery already."

    Zoetemelk oftern referred to the poor Equipment quality with Flandria. The De Vlaeminck's and Monseré often mocked Briek Schotte for his old-fashioned methods and they would rather train with assistant Noël Foré who had just ended his career and was hence more in touch with the latest development in training methods (let us remember that those three prodigies were very much ahead of their time in this respect).

    Also Schotte was very careful with paying. He often said that Monseré was not his salary worth, until he became World champion. While Monseré in 1970 was paid less than half the Maertens salary of 1973. At that time, riders were not paid too much in Belgium, that's why most of them went to Italy or France. There the salaries could be 5x bigger! Schotte claimed it produced a generation of lazy-bones, lol. And it was still nothing compared to the Lemond years.

    I have a picture of the 1975 Flandria team with Briek Schotte, Ronald De Witte, Walter Godefroot, Michel Pollentier, Marc Demeyer, Freddy Maertens, Herman Van Springel and Cyrille Guimard. Oh boy! What a team! How many classics have these guys won?

    However there results that year were disappointing and there was still no unity. So Driessens went to see Maertens and asked him to pressure on Claeys to bring him back to Flandria and he would make him the single leader, all this in Schotte's back. It was a disrespectful move by the two of them and Schotte has long been angered towards Maertens for that. I think they reconciled shortly before Schotte's death. But in the nineties, Schotte still couldn't stand Maertens. So for the third time, Schotte was reduced to the role of assistant of Driessens but Schotte is a farm boy, incredibly loyal and honest, he did his job with conscientiousness.
    Godefroot left the team and also started hating Maertens who was his protégé before. Schotte could not decently reduced Godefroot to the role of domestique. However Driessens made Maertens the best rider in the World for two years. But then disagreement with his rider led to his eviction and Fred De Bruyne replaced him. For Schotte, De Bruyne was no better than Driessens, he was a showman. Not enough seriousness. He was sacked too. In 1979 they contracted Jos Huysmans instead but by then Flandria had a lot of Financial problems and soon left the pro peloton. The factory also closed in 1982. The end of an era!

    Briek Schotte and Lomme Driessens are two key figures in Belgian cycling as far as team direction is concerned. And Flandria, a huge epic! A megateam!

    Edit: my main source is "Briek Schotte : De Laatste der Flandriens" by Rik Van Walleghem (Lannoo, 1998)
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  • « Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 16:54 by Echoes »


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