I titled it "The Skin Suit", but "The Traitor", or "Free Ride" would work too.
The story of the Los Angeles Olympics, from my perspective. First off, I did not stay with the team before the event, because of my positive test for ephedrine at the Coor’s Classic I ended up flying out to L.A. on Len Pettyjohn’s dime with my own support crew. So what ever did or did not happen with the blood doping scandal of those days I had no part of it.
I rode my bike to the start. With Len Pettyjohn carrying my spare wheels and bottles. When I got there it was tense. My instructions were simple, ride for Davis, I said fine, except that I told Eddy I would be going solo late in the race. He said ok. That was the race meeting for me, the first time Eddy and I had spoken in months.
In the race however and in my mind and prep I never gave one thought to really giving away my chance. I was there to win, it was all I knew at that point in life.
Once the race started, of course there are duties you must do, play your part in the race be present to observe and watch the front. On the very first lap I had worked myself up to the transition zone at the front, the place where you have to choose to follow moves or stay put. At the top of the first long climb both Ron Kiefel and I were present when a string of riders worked itself free as the climb crested and the road turned fast. We both looked at each other. For a second, I am sure neither of us really wanted to be exposed that early in the race. No matter his demeanor Ron Keifel wanted to win just as much as anyone else. I have always considered him a hard man to beat.
He hesitated, we were in equally good positions to respond. Intuition told me to go, so I wound it up, saving my legs as best I could and made the effort to bridge and join. The second I got there I knew it was good. A free ride with the likes of the Austrian Helmet Weshelberger in the move and willing to drive it.
From that point forward a certain rhythm was established. I was up the road ahead of the other favorites with the exception of Helmut. I did not have to work and I only had to follow one man. The latitude was there to let him go also. It was more or less the perfect place to be in. I knew it. I was not thinking what I could do to help Davis, I was thinking how I could use the situation to work all my rivals against each other, and conserve my legs which were marginal.
I am an observant bike racer, the tension on the U.S. team was visible. Thurlow was ashen, Kiefel was quiet, Phinney was wearing a skin suit. There was no doubt in my mind Keifel and Phinney were gonna be good. The skinsuit was information I filed away. Only one pocket was sewn into it and we faced a hot, hilly two hundred kilometer race. One feed zone per lap on a downhill, right near the start finish, wearing a skin suit with one pocket was to rely on the unreliable.
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