In 1980, there were exactly four professional bike racers in America. Six years later, an American cycling team would wear the coveted yellow jersey of the Tour de France. And that same team would go on to win Italy's greatest racethe Giro d'Italiaonly two years later. Team 7-Eleven is the extraordinary story of how two Olympic speed skaters, Jim Ochowicz and Eric Heiden, pulled together a small group of amateur cyclists and turned them into one of the greatest cycling teams the sport has known. From humble beginnings in a barn in Pennsylvania to soaring victories in the French Alps, Team 7-Eleven is the complete history that has never been fully tolduntil now.
The 7-Eleven Cycling TeamTeam 7-Eleven for shortlaunched the careers of American cycling superstars Andy Hampsten, Davis Phinney, Bob Roll, Ron Kiefel, and many more. It also changed the cycling world, creating a new team structure based on multiple stars, unified goals, and personal sacrifice for the greater good. And yet at the time it was formed, the number of American cyclists with world-class experience could be countedliterallyon one hand. And the number of American teams that competed in Europe's biggest races was exactly zero.
Team 7-Eleven is the amazing story of how two cycling fans found one exceptional sponsor and created the greatest American cycling team of its era.
Written with the enthusiastic cooperation of the team members, Team 7-Eleven will impress cycling fans with behind-the-scenes stories of the team's founding, its growing pains, and its lasting success as the team that established America as a powerhouse in the world of professional cycling.
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About the Author
Geoff Drake is the former editor of Bicycling and VeloNews magazines, and has covered cycling events worldwide including the Tour de France and Olympic Games. He also writes regularly for national motorcycle magazines and is the author of Smooth Riding , a motorcycling book. He is an avid cyclist, a Category II road racer, and an Ironman® triathlete. He lives in Aptos, California.
Jim Ochowicz is a two-time Olympic cyclist and former speedskater who cofounded the 7-Eleven cycling team in 1981. He managed 7-Eleven through 1990 and its successor, the Motorola Cycling Team, through 1996. He served four years as president of the board of directors of USA Cycling, and is currently the manager of the BMC Racing Team. He was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in 1997.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Eric Heiden
Foreword by Eddy Merckx
1 The Lure of Racing
2 Bikes and Blades
3 On Heiden's Coattails
4 What's a Velodrome?
5 Birth of a Team
6 Boys on a Bender
7 Looking for Consistency
8 The Purpose-Built Sprinter
9 A Reluctant Hero
10 Raise the Ranch Dog
11 Olympic Bonanza
12 The Push to Turn Pro
13 A Director with Horse Sense
14 The Kid from North Dakota
15 From First to Worst
16 Not Just Americans Anymore
17 Best in Bordeaux
18 Triumph on the Gavia
19 Ten Days in Yellow
20 Southland Bows Out
7-11 Through History: Senior Team Rosters
About the Authors
What People are Saying About This
“The new Team 7-Eleven book brought back great memories.” — Eric Heiden, 5-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Team 7-Eleven cofounder “[Team 7-Eleven] catalogues every episode, from the colorful characters to the shocking successes, in a methodical chronology of the team's decade-long run.” — Podium Café “What wonderful and painful memories Och and Geoff brought to life in the new Team 7-Eleven book! From the early ‘Ranch Dog’ days to the Tour de France victories, the stories and level of detail are spot on. Och provided the opportunity for us cowboys to show the world we had the mettle.” — Ron Kiefel, Team 7-Eleven rider “I greedily read Team 7-Eleven and discovered some new nuances to stories I thought I knew. Drake and Och captured the spirit of the team and brought it back to life.” — Alex Stieda, Team 7-Eleven rider and the first North American to wear the Tour de France yellow jersey “I thought I knew a lot about the riders and their famous victories, like Andy Hampsten’s remarkable Giro d’Italia win in 1988 and Alex Steida, Jeff Pierce and Davis Phinney’s stage wins in the Tour de France. But [Team 7-Eleven] is so full of fascinating details and behind-the-scenes anecdotes that I couldn’t put it down.” — RoadBikeRider.com “For me, Geoff and Jim’s book Team 7-Eleven passed that fact-check test. What I didn't expect was that I would get drawn into remembering the amazing bike race battles that Sergent Rock van Och led us into. And to think that we followed him!” — Tom Schuler, Team 7-Eleven rider “Team 7-Eleven is a true joy to read…It is an essential read if this period of cycling is one that passed you by or one that is before your time.” — TheWashingMachinePost.net “I thank Geoff Drake for the honest way I think things are written in the book. Team 7-Eleven is very accurate. Drake puts history in a perspective that made me sentimental about what we did as a team. At the time, we didn’t know whether we were part of a vision, an impulse, or a youthful dare!” — George Taylor, 7-Eleven cycling team sports sponsorship agent “[Team 7-Eleven’s] history is chronicled in great detail. Longtime cycling journo Geoff Drake and Jim Ochowicz(one of the team’s co-founders) highlight the trials and tribulations of putting the team on an international stage.” — NBCSports.com “Team 7-Eleven is a lively, easy read…The kit is iconic, the team was featured in "American Flyers" and at this point are not only an important piece of cycling history, but a slice of Americana as well.” — NYVelocity.com “The [Team 7-Eleven] book is rich in details, well-paced and very entertaining…Team 7-Eleven is an excellent addition to the history of the sport.” — Pezcyclingnews “Team 7-Eleven is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about the history of U.S. racing and how the groundwork was established for the eventual domination of Lance Armstrong and the current crop of top U.S. pros.” — RoadBikeRider.com “The Team 7-Eleven book is an essential history for anyone who has ever swung a leg over the top tube of a racing bike…Of note, though, is how gratifying the actual reading of the book has been. For a book gourmand such as your author, Drake serves up fine writing fare by the fork full.” — Le Grimpeur
Geoff Drake lives in Aptos, California. Jim Ochowicz lives in San Francisco, California.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book so much. It is the story of the building of the 7-Eleven cycling team in the 1980's by Jim Ochowitz. I liked the Mid-West connections of most of the early members of the team. Ochowitz, as most elite cyclists in those days, speed skated in the off season. Eric Heiden, of the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics fame was an early 7-Eleven team member. He was vitally important to American cycling because of his fame from his five speed skating gold medals. If you are a cycle racing fan you will want to read this book.
This is a great book, easy to read, and it keeps the action moving. The 7-11 team, its management, members, and genesis are very important to American pro cycling and Geoff Drake does a good job of capturing the joy of the victories, both large and small, as well as the agonies of 'da feet. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how American pro cycling really got started, what it was like to experience success in Europe, and what it took to attain many big victories.