Alex Zülle

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Alex Zülle
Alex ZUELLE.jpg
Zülle at the 1993 Tour de France
Personal information
Full name Alex Zülle
Nickname Perro Loco "Rompetechos"
Born (1968-07-05) 5 July 1968 (age 46)
Wil, Switzerland
Team information
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type All-rounder
Amateur team(s)
1988-1991 Helvetia, Isotonic, Churrasco, Mavick
Professional team(s)
1991–1997 ONCE
1998 Festina
1999–2000 Banesto
2001–2002 Team Coast
2003–2004 Phonak
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
2 Stages
Giro d'Italia
3 Stages
Vuelta a España
General Classification (1996, 1997)
9 Stages

Stage races

Tour de Suisse (2002)
Tour of the Basque Country (1995, 1997)
Paris–Nice (1993)
Volta a Catalunya (1996)
Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme (1992, 1996)

One-day races and Classics

World Time-Trial Champion (1996)

Alex Zülle (born 5 July 1968) is a Swiss former professional road bicycle racer. During the 1990s he was one of the best cyclists in the world, winning back-to-back in the 1996 and 1997 Vuelta a España, taking second place in the 1995 and the 1999 Tour de France. He was world time-trial champion in Lugano in 1996.

Biography[edit]

Early career[edit]

Zülle was born and brought up in Wil in the canton of St. Gallen, son of a Swiss father, Walter Zülle and Wilhelmine, from Brabant, Netherlands. As a child he wanted to be a skier but at 18 he was injured in an accident. He began cycling in the Netherlands for rehabilitation before giving up because it was too windy.[1]

His father, having bought cycling equipment, persuaded him to give cycling another go when they returned to Switzerland. After several years as a successful amateur, Zülle turned professional in 1991. He approached the former sporting director of the Swiss team, Helvetia, Paul Köchli, but Köchli signed Laurent Dufaux instead.[1]

Zülle then approached Manolo Saiz, but was rebuffed because, among reasons, he did not contract riders who wore earrings. Eventually, Saiz softened and Zülle rode for ONCE as a stagaire or apprentice in the Volta a Catalunya. He attacked frequently and finished third. Saiz relented and Zülle signed his first professional contract in September 1991.[2] He remained with ONCE until 1997.[3] Most of its riders were Spanish. Zülle spoke only Swiss-German when he joined but at the end of the Vuelta a España he answered journalists in Spanish.[4]

Festina affair[edit]

In 1998, Zülle joined Festina. The team was banned from the 1998 Tour de France amid doping allegations which later became known as the Festina affair. Five Festina riders including Zülle admitted taking EPO.[5] Zülle said he took it to satisfy his sponsors. He also said he was deprived of his spectacles during the police interview.[6] On 28 November 1998, Zülle's haematocrit was found to be 52.3%, 2.3% over the limit.

1999–2004[edit]

His career coincided with that of Miguel Indurain, five-time Tour de France winner. Zülle was second in the Tour in 1999. He also won the Vuelta and Tour de Suisse, and stages in the Giro d'Italia.

Zülle retired in 2004, and held a party for his fans in Wil in October that year.[7]

Palmarès[edit]

1992
1st Overall, Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme
1st Overall, Vuelta a Asturias
1st Overall, Vuelta a Burgos
1st, Escalada a Montjuïc
1993
Paris–Nice
1st Stage 1 and 8
Vuelta a España
1st Stage 1, 6 and 21
2nd Overall
Chur-Arosa
Josef Voegeli Memorial
3rd Overall Tour of the Basque Country
1994
4th Overall, Vuelta a España
1995
Tour de France
1st Stage 9
2nd Overall
Tour of the Basque Country
1st Overall, Stage 3 and Stage 5(b)
Vuelta a Valencia
1st Overall, Stage 2(b)
Challenge Mallorca
Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme
1st Stage 5(b)
2nd Overall
Euskal Bizikleta
1st Stage 4(b)
2nd Overall
Tour de Suisse
1st Stage 1, 6 and Points Classification
2nd Overall
3rd Overall, Paris–Nice
1st Stage 16, Vuelta a España
1996
Arc en ciel.svg World Time-Trial Championship (1996)
Vuelta a España
Jersey yellow.svg1st Overall and Stage 15
Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme
1st Overall, Stage 3 and 5(b)
Volta a Catalunya
1st Overall, Prologue, Stage 3 and 6
GP Miguel Indurain
Euskal Bizikleta
1st Stage 4(b)
2nd Overall
1st Prologue, Tour de France
1997
Vuelta a España
Jersey yellow.svg1st Overall and Stage 21
Tour of the Basque Country
1st Overall and Stage 5(b)
2nd Overall, Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme
2nd Milano–Torino
3rd La Flèche Wallonne
1998
Tour de Romandie
1st Stage 4(b)
2nd Overall
Giro d'Italia
1st Prologue, Stage 6 and 15
3rd Overall, Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme
3rd Overall, Tour of the Basque Country
1st Stage 21, Vuelta a España
1999
À travers Lausanne
2nd Overall, Tour de France
1st Stage 13, Vuelta a España
2000
Volta ao Algarve
1st Stage 1, Vuelta a España
2001
1st Stage a, Paris–Nice
2002
Tour de Suisse
1st Overall and Stage 1
Tour de Romandie
1st Stage 4, 5 and Points Classification
2nd Overall

Grand Tour Results (2 victories)[edit]

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Tour de France
Jersey yellow.svg General classification DNF 41st 8th 2nd 26th DNF DNF 2nd DNF - - -
Jersey polkadot.svg Mountains classification - - - 3rd - - - - - - - -
Jersey green.svg Points classification - - - - - - - - - - - -
Jersey white.svg Youth classification - - - - - - - - - - -
Stages won - - - 1 1 - - - - - - -
Giro d'Italia
Jersey pink.svg General classification - - - - - 14th DNF - - - -
Jersey green.svg Mountains classification - - - - - - - - - - - -
Jersey violet.svg Points classification - - - - - - - - - - - -
Jersey white.svg Youth classification - - - - - - - - - - -
Stages won - - - - - - 3 - - - - -
Vuelta a España
Jersey yellow.svg General classification DNF 2nd 4th 20th 1st 1st 8th 37th 49th 109th - DNF
Jersey red.svg Mountains classification - 2nd - 3rd - 2nd - - - - - -
Jersey blue.svg Points classification - 2nd 3rd - - - - - - - - -
Jersey white.svg Combination classification - - - - - - - - - - - -
Stages won - 3 - 1 1 1 1 1 1 - - -

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "portrait : how it all began". alex-zuelle.com. 
  2. ^ "Interview with Alex Zulle". cyclingnews.com. 1998-01-01. 
  3. ^ "portrait : startschwierigkeiten" (in German). alex-zuelle.com. 
  4. ^ "portrait : ein schweizer in spanien" (in German). alex-zuelle.com. 
  5. ^ "Tour de France". Sports Betting. 
  6. ^ "Drugs scandal update". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  7. ^ "Zulle parties out". cyclingnews.com. 2004-10-21. 

External links[edit]