7-Eleven (cycling team)
|General manager||Jim Ochowicz|
|Team name history|
The 7-Eleven Cycling Team, later the Motorola Cycling Team, was a professional cycling team founded in the U.S. in 1981 by Jim Ochowicz, a former U.S. Olympic cyclist. The team lasted 16 years, under the sponsorship of 7-Eleven through 1990 and then Motorola from 1990 through 1996. From 1989 to 1996 it rode on Eddy Merckx bikes.
7-Eleven was formed as an amateur cycling team in 1981 by Ochowicz, a 29-year-old former Olympic cyclist from the U.S., who was married to Olympic speed skating gold medalist Sheila Young. Ochowicz had managed the U.S. national speed-skating team and was friends with Eric and Beth Heiden, who were both excellent cyclists as well as champion speed skaters. He managed to get sponsorship from the Southland Corporation, owners of the 7-Eleven convenience-store chain, and bicycle manufacturer Schwinn to form an amateur team. Of the seven men on the inaugural 7-Eleven-Schwinn team racing in 1981, Eric Heiden (who swept the gold medals in speed skating in the 1980 Winter Olympics) was the captain and the best known. The other Americans were Jeff Bradley, Greg Demgen, Bradley Davies, Tom Schuler, Danny Van Haute and Roger Young (Ochowicz's brother-in-law). They were joined by Canadian Ron Hayman. Although Schwinn dropped out as a co-sponsor in 1982, 7-Eleven added a women's team with Rebecca Twigg, among others, as well as more male riders, including Davis Phinney, Ron Kiefel and Canadian Alex Stieda. The all-amateur 7-Eleven team was featured in the 1985 movie American Flyers, starring Kevin Costner. The 1986 Cycling Media Guide published for the 1986 World Championships lists Jeff Bradley, Chris Carmichael, Alexi Grewal, Eric Heiden, Ron Kiefel, Davis Phinney, Bob Roll, Tom Schuler, Doug Shapiro and Alex Stieda with an additional group of amateur men on the team including Frankie Andreu, Curt Harnett, David Lettieri, Robert Mathis, Leonard "Harvey" Nitz and Russell Scott.
Southland continued its commitment by sponsoring the cycling venue at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where nine Americans won cycling medals. The other (especially equipment) sponsors of the team included Descente, Huffy, Campagnolo, and Tag Heuer. Often, those sponsors elected not to continue after their initial contracts were completed.
In 1985, Ochowitz changed the men's team's status to professional and asked Mike Neel to be the directeur sportif in Europe. The team went to Europe with an initial roster of members including Olympic gold medalists Alexi Grewal and Heiden, Olympic bronze medalists Phinney and Kiefel, Bradley, Schuler, Hayman, Stieda, and Chris Carmichael. When the team received an invitation to the 1985 Giro d'Italia, one of the Grand Tours of Europe, a young American cyclist based in Europe named Andrew Hampsten was added to the team under a 30-day contract for the race. After both Kiefel and Hampsten stunningly won stages during the Giro, becoming the first American stage winners ever at a Grand Tour, 7-Eleven was invited to the 1986 Tour de France and became one of the major cycling teams for the next decade, under the sponsorship of Southland through 1990 and then Motorola through 1996. Ochowicz disbanded the team after the 1996 season, when Motorola decided to discontinue sponsorship.
While it was not the first professional cycling team in the U.S., 7-Eleven was responsible for an overall increase in bike racing interest in the U.S. The team claimed a win in a Grand Tour, when Andrew Hampsten won the general classification as well as the mountains classification at the 1988 Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy). It also claimed a handful of world championship medals and US championships, as well as Tour de France and Giro stage wins and one more Grand Tour podium (Hampsten's third in the 1989 Giro d'Italia). It was the second U.S. team to ride the Giro d'Italia (1985) (the Gianni Motta team was the first in 1984) and in the Tour de France (1986), where two Canadian riders on the team held the yellow jersey on different occasions (Alex Stieda in 1986 and Steve Bauer in 1990). Its Tour de France stage winners included Phinney, Jeff Pierce, Hampsten, Sean Yates and Dag Otto Lauritzen from Norway. In 1989 Brian Walton won the pro-am Milk Race (Tour of Britain). As of 2009, Team 7-Eleven is the only cycling team to have been inducted into the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame.
Three bike manufacturers sponsored the team throughout the years: Schwinn from 1981 to 1984, Murray from 1985 to 1986, Huffy from 1987 to 1988, although the team bikes from 1985 to 1988 were primarily built by Ben Serotta. Finally Eddy Merckx sponsored the team from 1989 through their ultimate cessation in 1996. For Eddy Merckx, sponsoring the American team had a special meaning. Eddy Merckx said:
"I had a special relationship with the 7-Eleven team. They were happy to have somebody with my racing and frame-building experience. For me [it] remains a great memory. I was happy I could make them more successful in Europe, and to see the positive influence they had on the US as a whole. If I had do it over, I would make the same choice straight away."
During Motorola's sponsorship of the team in the 1990s, the riders began communicating with the team cars through the use of two-way radios built by Motorola. The radios were slowly adopted through the rest of the professional peloton, becoming standard equipment by 2002. Acceptance of these radios was hastened by the success in the Tour de France of former Motorola rider Lance Armstrong, who continued to use a race radio when he joined the U.S. Postal Service cycling team.
- United States National Road Race Championships, Eric Heiden
- Trofeo Laigueglia, Ron Kiefel
- Stage 15 Giro d'Italia, Ron Kiefel
- Stage 20 Giro d'Italia, Andrew Hampsten
- Stage 3 Tour de France, Davis Phinney
- United States National Road Race Championships, Tom Schuler
- Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt, Dag Otto Lauritzen
- Overall Tour de Suisse, Andrew Hampsten
- Stage 12 Tour de France, Davis Phinney
- Stage 14 Tour de France, Dag Otto Lauritzen
- Stage 25 Tour de France, Jeff Pierce
- Giro di Toscana, Ron Kiefel
- United States National Road Race Championships, Ron Kiefel
- Stage 3 Paris–Nice, Andrew Hampsten
- Stage 3 Tour de Romandie, Bob Roll
- Stage 5 Tour de Romandie, Davis Phinney
- Overall Giro d'Italia, Andrew Hampsten
- King of the Mountains Classification
- Stages 12 & 18, Andrew Hampsten
- Grand Prix Eddy Merckx, Sean Yates
- Overall Tour de Belgique, Sean Yates
- Stage 2 Tour de Romandie, jens Veggerby
- Overall Tour de Trump. Dag-Otto Lauritzen
- Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, Gerhard Zadrobilek
- Urkiola Igoera - Subida Urkiola, Andrew Hampsten
- Stage 1 Tour de Suisse, Nathan Dahlberg
- Stage 7 Tour de Suisse, Andrew Hampsten
- Urkiola Igoera - Subida Urkiola, Andrew Hampsten
- Overall Tour Méditerranéen, Phil Anderson
- Wateringse Wielerdag, Phil Anderson
- Stage 5 Critérium du Dauphiné, Sean Yates
- Stage 8 Tour de Suisse, Phil Anderson
- Stage 10 Tour de France, Phil Anderson
- Overall Tour de Romandie, Sean Yates
- Stage 14 Tour de France, Andrew Hampsten
- Stage 2 Giro d'Italia, Maximilian Sciandri
- United Kingdom National Road Race Championship, Sean Yates
- GP d´Isbergues, Phil Anderson
- United States National Road Race Championship, Lance Armstrong
- Overall Tour of Sweden, Phil Anderson
- Giro del Veneto, Maximilian Sciandri
- Coppa Placci, Maximilian Sciandri
- Overall Tour de Luxembourg, Maximilian Sciandri
- Trofeo Laigueglia
- Stage 8 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong
- World Road Race Championship, Lance Armstrong
- Grand Prix de Fourmies, Maximilian Sciandri
- Overall Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Alvaro Mejia Castrillon
- GP Raymond Impanis, Phil Anderson
- GP Herning, Brian Smith
- Overall Route du Sud, Alvaro Mejia Castrillon
- United Kingdom National Road Race Championship, Brian Smith
- Stage 6 Tour de Pologne, Frankie Andreu
- Profronde van Almelo, Max van Heeswijk
- Criterium Woerden, Wiebren Veenstra
- Acht van Chaam, George Hincapie
- Stage 5 Paris–Nice, Lance Armstrong
- Stage 2 Critérium du Dauphiné, Wiebren Veenstra
- Stage 18 Tour de France, Lance Armstrong
- Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, Lance Armstrong
- Vuelta a Castilla y León, Andrea Peron
- Stage 8a Paris–Nice, Maximilian Sciandri
- La Flèche Wallonne, Lance Armstrong
- Dzierzak, Lou. The Evolution of American Bicycle Racing. Velikost; 2007; pp. 82-83.
- Dzierzak, p. 83.
- "The Bike Whisperer" (PDF). www.moto-gaansari.com. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
- Dzierzak, pp. 84-85.
- Drake, Geoff (2011): Team 7-Eleven: How an Unsung Band of American Cyclists Took on the World — and Won, ISBN 978-1-9340-3092-9. Velopress, USA. p.XI-XII
- Sal Ruibal (2009-07-13). "With 10th-stage radio silence, Tour undergoes new twist". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Anthony Tan (2002). "To radio or not to radio?". cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
- Drake, Geoff (2012). Team 7-Eleven: How an Unsung Band of American Cyclists Took on the World—and Won. Boulder, CO: VeloPress. ISBN 978-1-934030-92-9. Archived from the original on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
- Fotheringham, William (15 May 2020). "Motorola Cycling Team". Prendas Ciclismo. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
- Guinness, Rupert (1997). Tales from the Toolbox: Inside a Professional Cycling Team. Boulder, CO: VeloPress. ISBN 978-1-884737-39-8. Retrieved 5 November 2013.