Cyclo-Cross...and albert Zweifel of Switzerland has won his third successive world professional title. This year's?
SV PAN Cars with cycles on roofs arrive at meeting
GV Spectators trudging through mud on way to start (3 shots)
GV Race in progress (competitors on bikes with Albert Zweifel of Switzerland (No. 1) in lead
GV ZOOM INTO SV Riders carrying bikes up muddy hill
CU PAN Lucien Zeimes (No. 38) of Luxembourg carrying bike up hill
SV Mud-spattered Peter Frischknecht of Switzerland (No. 2) rides along road
SV PAN Klaus Peter Thaler of West Germany (No. 43) rides down muddy slope onto road
SV PAN Mud-spattered rider (number obscured) rides over mud onto road
GV PAN Albert Zweifel of Switzerland arrives at finish completely covered in mud
In the team event, Switzerland finished first, with Belgium second, Spain third, Holland fourth, France fifth and Italy sixth. In the world amateur championship over six laps, the winner was Roland Liboton of Belgium, with the Swiss duo of Gilles Blaser and Karl-Heinz Helbling second and third. Liboton's time was one hour, two minutes 32 seconds. The amateur team championship went to Switzerland. Belgium was second, France third, Italy fourth, Poland fifth and Holland sixth.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Cyclo-Cross...and albert Zweifel of Switzerland has won his third successive world professional title. This year's championships were held on Amorebieta in Spain on Sunday (22 January), and Zweifel defied appalling conditions to finish ahead of his team-mate Peter Frischknecht, with West Germany's Klaus Peter Thaler in third place.
SYNOPSIS: Conditions were so bad for the championships that officials reduced the number of laps for the race from eight to seven.
Each lap was two point nine kilometres long, and after heavy rain most of the circuit was a complete mudbath. For many of the competitors the conditions proved to be just too much. But not for the Swiss.
Zweifel, wearing number one, revelled in the mud. His strength and stamina were ideal qualities for the energy-sapping course, and with Frischknecht and Thaler he stormed ahead from the start. Zweifel's main rival was expected to be former World Champion Roger de Vlaeminck of Belgium, but he withdrew because of bronchitis.
Another Belgian, Albert Van Damme, also pulled out because of illness, and this left the Swiss virtually unchallenged in the team event.
It was difficult enough on the flat, but as Luxembourg's Lucien Zeimes found out the hills were really tough going.
Along the road, Frischknecht, number two, kept up the pressure on Zweifel.
Thaler, number 43, was there as well, looking for a break.
The mud covered most of the riders' numbers, but there was no hiding Zweifel's superiority. He finished the seven laps in one hour, seven minutes 21 seconds -- almost a minute ahead of Frischknecht.