7-Eleven (cycling team)

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7-Eleven
Team information
Registered United States
Founded 1981 (1981)
Disbanded 1996
Discipline Road
Key personnel
General manager Jim Ochowicz
Team name history
1981–1990
1991–1996
7-Eleven
Motorola

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.

History[edit]

A Team 7-Eleven rider corners on Greg LeMond's left during the Fisherman's Wharf Criterium stage of the 1986 Coors Classic in San Francisco, CA.

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.[1] 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.[2] 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. 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.[3]

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 overall championship (maglia rosa) as well as the mountains championship 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 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.

Bike sponsor[edit]

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:[4]

"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."

Race radios[edit]

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.[5] The radios were slowly adopted through the rest of the professional peloton, becoming standard equipment by 2002.[6] 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 [5]

Major wins[edit]

1985
 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
1986
Stage 3 Tour de France, Davis Phinney
1987
 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
1988
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
1989
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
1990
Stage 1 Tour de Suisse, Nathan Dahlberg
Stage 7 Tour de Suisse, Andrew Hampsten
Urkiola Igoera - Subida Urkiola, Andrew Hampsten
1991
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
1992
Overall Tour de Romandie, Sean Yates
Stage 3 Tour de Romandie, Andrew Hampsten
Stage 5 Tour de Romandie, Maximilian Sciandri
Stage 2 Giro d'Italia, Maximilian Sciandri
 United Kingdom National Road Race Championship, Sean Yates
GP d´Isbergues, Phil Anderson
1993
 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
1994
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
1995
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
1996
Vuelta a Castilla y León, Andrea Peron
Stage 8a Paris–Nice, Maximilian Sciandri
La Flèche Wallonne, Lance Armstrong

1986 Tour de France[edit]

Roster[edit]

200 RAU Rob (USA)

201 GREWAL Alexi (USA)
202 ALCALA Raul (MEX)
203 CARMICHAEL Chris (USA)
204 HEIDEN Eric (USA)
205 KIEFEL Ron (USA)
206 PHINNEY Davis (USA)
207 PIERCE Jeff (USA)
208 ROLL Bob (USA)
209 SHAPIRO Douglas (USA)
210 STIEDA Alex (CAN)

Results[edit]

63 - Bob Roll 1h 43' 12"
80 - Jeff Pierce 1h 56' 57"
96 - Ron Kiefel 2h 06' 38"
114 - Raul Alcala 2h 15' 53"
120 - Alex Stieda 2h 19' 47"
Eric Heiden ab.18°
Alexi Grewal ab.17°
Davis Phinney ab.15°
Chris Carmichael ab.12°
Doug Shapiro ab.12°

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Dzierzak, Lou. The Evolution of American Bicycle Racing. Velikost; 2007; pp. 82-83.
  2. ^ Dzierzak, p. 83.
  3. ^ Dzierzak, pp. 84-85.
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ a b Sal Ruibal (2009-07-13). "With 10th-stage radio silence, Tour undergoes new twist". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  6. ^ Anthony Tan (2002). "To radio or not to radio?". cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]