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An Interview with Laudelino Cubino.

By Herman van Iterson


Three months ago I wrote an article about the green Kelme boys who give and gave colour to the Giro, the Tour and, yet to come, the Vuelta. With that article I won the Giro-writing-competition and because of that you could all read it on the Daily Peloton.

This summer Iíve been to Spain (Castilla y Leon) and there I also stayed some days in Bejar. In Bejar Laudelino Cubino runs a hotel and still goes out cycling with everyone who likes to enjoy the surrounding of Bejar, like for instance the Vuelta mountain stage-climb La Covatilla. There it was that I made this interview with him.

For everyone who canít remember who Laudelino Cubino was, the following facts. Laudelino Cubino rode between 1985 and 1996 and is best remembered by his stage-wins in the mountains. He won big mountain stages in the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta (where he also finished third in the overall-standings behind Rominger and ZŁlle). He also has been national champion of Spain and has won several one-week tours.


Lale, how are you and what are you doing these days?

Iím fine thank you. After my retirement I started with this hotel in 1998 and itís going very well. My wife Encarna and I work and live here (Bejar is also their hometown) and we have two children, Laura and Gonzalo. There is always enough to do and I can still go out cycling with guests, the thing Iíve always done and liked best of course.

How many years have you been a professional and when did you stop?

I started my career in 1985 with the ZOR-team. Then I rode with BH-Amaya (seguros) and I finished my career after three years with the Kelme-team in 1996. So eleven years my sport was my profession.

What are your best memories during those eleven years?

The best is from 1988. In the Tour de France that year I won the mountain stage which finished on the top of Luz Ardiden in the Pyrenees. Also being national champion of Spain in 1990 made me feel very proud. And finally my mountain stage win in the Giro from 1995, which finished on top of the Monte Sirino. I will never forget how totally wrecked I was after that win.

Which country left the finest memories apart from the cycling?

Italy because of the landscape. I found it very beautiful over there. In the future I hope to see the canals of Amsterdam in your country. Iíve been in Holland, but never had the opportunity to see them.

Which cyclists, you rode with, you remember best or are still good friends?

I rode with many of course, but with Javier Hurguialday and Francisco Antequera from my BH-Amaya days and Francisco Cabello from my Kelme days (still riding for the Kelme-team) Iíve always had a good relation.

Name your best all time Kelme-riders till this moment.

Very difficult of course. Kelme always has had very great riders, mostly climbers. But if I have to name three I would say: Fabio Parra (the Colombian, once third in the Tour), Fernando Escartin (also once third in the Tour and still riding with Team Coast) and Roberto Heras (winner of the Vuelta in 2000 and living close by Bejar in Candelario).

What can you say about the following three cyclists?

Oscar Sevilla, these days frontman of the Kelme-team together with Santiago Botero:

A very good rider and for me still the man for the future here in Spain. He had a very disappointing Tour de France this year, but maybe there was too much pressure after his successful year before (7th in the Tour and 2nd in the Vuelta). Also donít forget the financial problems the Kelme-riders had this season.

Santiago Botero, the other Colombian frontman of the Kelme-team:

Heís a very strong contender. Unbelievable the power he rides with. In this year's Tour de France he absolutely safed the Kelme-team with his performances (two stage-wins, one time trial and one mountain stage).

Jose Enrique Gutierrez, always there to help in team time trials and mountain stages:

Jose is a cyclist, who rides very regular and can keep one tempo for a long time. Itís very important to have these kind of riders in your team. Jose Enrique Gutierrez has proved to be a rider like that in the past tours (Giro in 2001 and Tour de Frances in 2001/2002).

Francisco Cabello, once Tour stage winner in Ireland and since 1990 with the Kelme-team:

Francisco is a very nice guy. Always there with a smile. Already twelve years doing his work for Kelme. Where do you find these kind of riders nowadays!

Javier Otxoa, mountain stage winner in the Tour of 2000 and badly injured because of an accident:

What can one say. Javier has had some very bad luck. Together with his brother (Ricardo died because of that same accident) they had promising career to come, but after that awful accident things changed dramaticly. Letís hope Javier will have more luck in the rest of his life. I wish him the best!

Which race is the most beautiful over here in Spain?

Easy question. The Vuelta of course. Itís our main cycling-event and I will never forget that I once finished third overall behind Tony Rominger and Alex ZŁlle (1993).

Is the Vuelta bigger than the Tour de France for a Spanish rider?

No, itís a very important race to win when you ride in your own country. But the Tour the France is the main cycling event of the year. I rode the Tour de France eight times and you canít imagine what kind of world you are part of during those three weeks. Like nothing else is important anymore.

Finally. Is Lance Armstrong stronger, better than Miguel Indurain?

No, not yet. Heís the best at the moment and the right winner of the last three Tour de Frances. But Miquel Indurain has won five times and when Armstrong reaches that achievement I will change my opinion.


Herman van Iterson together with Laudelino Cubino.


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