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VINER POSTER REVEALS AN EMERGING STAR

October 24, 2010

I came across this intriguing poster on the viner.it website. Not only is it a great piece of graphic design, it also marks the day when Viner could proudly use the famous rainbow bands as part of their badge. This meant they could join the likes of Colnago, and De Rosa and have a ‘World Champion’ pedigree to help market their frames.

But who the hell were the “100km a squadre”?

After slaving away on the internet turns out they were the Dutch foursome, who won the Team Time Trial at the 1978 World Champs in Köln, Germany, beating the Soviet team by over a minute.

The most fascinating part was that two of the quartet went on to turn professional the following season. Jan van Houwelingen signed for the Boule d’Or team, and in his 8 year career had 8 victories and missed out on a TT stage victory on Stage 14 of the Tour de France, beaten by none other than Hinault. So not a shabby rider then, but not a patch on his Dutch team mate that turned pro at the same time. His name? Bert Oosterbosch.

Oosterbosch signed for the mighty TI-Raleigh squad in 1979, and apart from a year with the DAF team in 1982, he spent all his pro life alongside Peter Post. Oosterbosch had a great but tragic career, beating Francesco Moser to the World Pursuit crown in 1979, and winning 6 Tour de France stages and also stages in the Vuelta and Tour de Suisse. Being a Dutchman he was no doubt a canny roadman, with the 4 Days of Dunkirk, 3 Days of De Panne, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen and the Tour of Holland on his prolific palmares.

Despite his obvious strength on a bike, Oosterbosch suffered with ill health through his career, twice suffering with meningitis. To cap it all a serious knee problem forced him to retire from the pro peloton in 1988. A year later he was dead. A massive heart attack curtailing a successful comeback to the amateur ranks. This early death caused many rumours that Oosterbosch doped, rumours that lifted their ugly heads again when Willy Voet’s book ‘Breaking the Chain’ was published in 1999. In it he claims Oosterbosch’s poor showing at the 1982 Grand Prix des Nations was down to doping agents.

Whether he doped or not, there’s no denying that Oosterbosch was a class act, especially against the clock, a talent that showed it’s light on the World Championship stage in 1978 and on that colourful Viner poster.

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