FBD Milk Rás Feature
The following articles are reproduced courtesy of Dermot Dignam. They appear in this years FBD Milk Ras race programme, which will be sold at stage-end finishes throughout the race.
PRIMED FOR SUCCESS
By Shane Stokes
The most experienced person on the race is not to be found on a bike, but rather behind the wheel of a team car. Tommy Prim is the manager of the Swedish Team Bianchi Scandinavia squad and brings a wealth of guidance and tactical nous to the squad. Prim came to attention as an amateur when he won the under 22 classification in the 1976 British Milk Race and then the Settimana Bergamasca in Italy two years later. At the end of 1979 he signed a professional contract with the Bianchi team, and wasted little time in finding success. He won the Coppa Agostoni in 1980 and, more impressively, took a stage, fourth overall and the title of best young rider in the Tour of Italy. The following season was even more impressive; Prim was best in the Tour de Romandie and the Trofeo Pantalica, and finished second to Battaglin in the Giro.
1982 brought a stage win and the overall classification in the Tour of Sweden plus second to Hinault in the Tour of Italy. The Tour of Sweden fell to him again in 1983, as two stages in the race, Paris-Brussels and the first ever running of the GP Eddy Merckx time trial.
Prim took a fine win in the 1984 Tirreno Adriatico but crashed before the Tour of Italy and was unable to ride. He came back the following season to place fourth in the race, behind Hinault, Moser and LeMond, and also won a stage in the Tour of Sweden.
The Swede’s professional career drew to a close in 1986 but after several years working outside the sport, he returned to manage the third division pro team, Crescent. Dealing with under 23 riders, some notable successes have been achieved, such as Stefan Adamsson’s 2000 Swedish road race title and Peter Renang’s silver in the time trial championships. Last year Jonas Olsson became the European under 23 champion while Jonas Holmkvist won the Scandinavian Open. Homkvist had previously finished 5th in the European junior mountainbike championships in 2000.
But it was last year’s Swedish championships where their strength was really seen, with Olsson taking the time trial title ahead of team-mate Gustav Larsson and the duo finishing third and fifth respectively in the road race. The Team Crescent A and B teams also silver and gold respectively in the team time trial championship.
This season, Crescent became Team Bianchi Scandinavia and the results have continued to roll in. Tomas Lovkvist took the 2.6 Circuit des Ardennes while more recently, Holmkvist won two stages plus the overall classification in the 2.5 Ringerike Grand Prix in Norway. Holmkvist has been tipped as one to watch for the future, and like his team-mates Olsson, Renang, Tobias Lergard and Jonas Ljungblad, he will be a real dangerman in the FBD MILK RÁS.
Guiding them from the driving seat will be Prim, who has achieved considerable success with his under 23 team. What is most encouraging about this squad is that it appears to be run with a strict anti-doping stance; in an interview two years ago with Cycle Sport, he had this to say. ‘We need to show people that you can achieve great results without doping. We must teach young riders that they can be good by relying just on their physical attributes, not by taking pills.’ Sharing his professional expertise with them is a big plus, but it is this lesson which is the most important of all.