CYCLING TOUR DE TRUMP : Once Along for Ride, Alcala Goes On to Win
Raul Alcala of Mexico thought he would use the Tour de Trump to get into shape until he realized he could win.
Alcala, who lives and trains in Switzerland, concluded 11 days of consistent and strategic racing Sunday by winning the race by 43 seconds.
“I came into the race only to train,” Alcala said. “But I won the prologue, so I knew there was a chance to win.
“It was a hard race. I never saw any flat roads, it was always up and down.”
Alcala, 26, said he began cycling when he was 10. “I played soccer when I was younger,” he said. “It was too hard. I never won anything. Too much fighting. Later, I started cycling.”
Alcala’s cycling idol was France’s Bernard Hinault, a five-time Tour de France champion. As a teen-ager, Alcala studied pictures of Hinault to learn proper racing form. Now, Alcala says he can begin emulating Hinault as a professional. Asked if he could win this year’s Tour de France, Alcala said: “Oh, sure. Why not?”
Michael Zanoli, a native of the Netherlands who lives in Boulder, Colo., beat Olaf Ludwig of East Germany by a bike length for his second victory in the 13th and final stage of the 1,107-mile event. The last leg of the race was completed in 4 hours 20 minutes 55 seconds. Olympian Davis Phinney of Boulder, Colo., was third in the same time as the winner.
“I was just waiting for the last 100 meters, staying out of the wind,” Zanoli said. “It was great. Ludwig blocked the wind, then he was stopped by the wind, and I passed him by.
“There was no reason to make a move on Alcala in this race,” Zanoli said. “The course was too flat, and everyone was too tired. It was finished.”
Alcala, of Monterrey, Mexico, began his quest after winning the prologue May 3, the opener of the event that wound through six states.
Alcala also won the eighth stage and was in the top six four times. He finished 15th Sunday and earned the $50,000 winner’s purse, which he will share with six teammates.
Atle Kvalsvoll of Norway, 35th in the final stage, finished second and Erik Breukink of the Netherlands was third, 1:44 behind Alcala. Soviet amateur Dmitri Zhdanov was fourth, 1:52 behind.
Steve Speaks of Longmont, Colo., was the highest American finisher, placing sixth, 2:23 back. Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, still recovering from an illness, was 18th in the final stage and finished 78th among 87 riders.
LeMond briefly held the lead Sunday in downtown Boston, but was eventually caught by the pack.
Alcala took the lead after Saturday’s 12th stage, a 123.7-mile push to Albany, N.Y., that included a 1,500-foot climb in Devil’s Kitchen, the most difficult stretch of the event.
Alcala, who four years ago won the now-defunct Coors International Bicycle Classic, the previous largest cycling race in the United States, is the only Mexican rider to win a stage of the Tour de France.