Hall of fame: Henk Lubberding about June 5, 1988

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26.12.2006/ The legendary Passo di Gavia is often part of the Giro d'Italia and his 2621 metres have marked more than once the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the race. The Gavia became a legend on June 5th in 1988 when stage 14 of the Giro passed the Passo in a merciless blizzard. The legendary stage was won by Dutch rider Erik Breukink, with American and later winner of this Giro Andy Hampsten in second place. Cyclingheroes will publish a series of interviews with riders and team employees who were at the Gavia at June 5, 1988. The first interview is with Henk Lubberding, team mate of stage winner Erik Breukink in the Panasonic team.

Henk Lubberding was part of the legendary TI Raleigh squad (picture: TI Raleigh)

Cyclingheroes: Did you know before the start on June 5, 1988 what lay ahead of you on that day?

Henk Lubberding:  No, I did not know the Gavia, I had never ridden there before. I had only read the road book. 

Cyclingheroes: Before the Gavia you climbed the Passo Aprica, had you had an idea how things would be on the Gavia?

Henk Lubberding: Just before the Passo Aptica we heard that the weather on the Gavia would be bad, but we had no idea of how bad.

Cyclingheroes: Teun van Vliet was in an early breakaway, do you remember how the stage developed until the beginning of the Gavia climb and what was your role in the team?

Henk Lubberding: My role was to always protect the captain, in this case Breukink. I had to pilot him to the Gavia and stay with him as long as possible.

Cyclingheroes: You could almost see nothing because of the snow and the raod had not been paved then. What went through your head during the climb of the Gavia?

Henk Lubberding: I remember that my tires were sucked into the ground and they just wouldn't roll. Under the snow the soil was thawin

Cyclingheroes: Johan Van Der Velde was the first rider to get to the top of the Gavia. On the descent he fell victim to the cold and was driven down by bus. How did you arrive in Bormio?

Henk Lubberding: On the top I got a warm tee first, which I poured over my hands to thaw them out.Then I put on a warm jacket and rode down as one of the few who did that. Shivering from the cold I rode to the hotel where at the entrance the director helped me to put off my dirty shoes – I could not do that anymore. In my room I took a shower for more than half an hour with all my clothes on to get warm again. Later in my bed I had the good feeling that I made it.

Cyclingheroes: Did you experience something similar during your career?

Henk Lubberding: In my first year: Paris-Nice, three stages at the same day, totally wet and cold!!

Cyclingheroes: With Colle Delle Finistere, Plan De Corones and Zoncolan the Giro d'Italia has been very tough, spectacular and maybe even dangerous in last couple of years. Is that a good developement and were do you think is the limit?

Henk Lubberding: By all means do not ride downhill in the snow, that's life threatening!!!

Cyclingheroes: You raced many years in the team of Peter Post. What was the most important factor of succes of the strong cycling team of Peter Post, which dominated international racing over years?

Henk Lubberding: The magic word was teamwork. Everybody was equaly valuable, we had respect for each others specific talents and we knew how to use the optimum power of our group through team play. This philosophy of 'together we are strong' I nowadays apply at „Teambuilding met Lubberding“ [met is Dutch for with]. I offer a tailor-made mix of sports, sociability, team training and recreation for companies, organisations and other groups, in which group dynamics are essential.

Cyclingheroes: In 1992 you retired as a professional. What were the personal highlights for you?

Henk Lubberding: The white jersey and finishing eight overall in the Tour de France.

Cyclingheroes: After your career you did not sit still. You already mentioned Teambuilding met Lubberding, can you tell us more about it?

Henk Lubberding: It is about team building. The six cols of Lubberding play a central role. It all starts with communication. Good communication is the best way to accomplish tasks as a group. The second col is coordination. Naturally, you have to distribute duties within a team. The different parts of a duty should be accomplished in good functional order. Natural leadership will result automatically. The third col is confrontation. If the teamwork does not run smoothly, the group will immediately be confrontated with their own inability. The group can quickly change course. This kind of change processes are difficult, the participants will encounter this in their daily work. The fourth col of my project is contact. In a natural and convivial atmosphere relations develop differently than on the workfloor. I put together groups of colleagues who normally do not speak much with each other, but then come together in a group. The fifth col is competition. I let the different groups compete against each other. The sixth and final col is collectivity. The team members have to work together in order to accomplish their tasks. Each person within the group has his own quality for the team. The success of the team depends on th the power of the collective.

Cyclingheroes: Do you do other things as well?

Henk Lubberding: Team building with Lubberding can be filled in in different ways. I organize bikeclinics in the Netherlands and on Lanzarote [Canary Islands]. During these clinics road racers, tour riders, atb riders and triathletes are individually advised on training, technique, nutrition and more. We take care that participants inprove their abilities, so that they can enjoy their hobby even more.

Cyclingheroes: In 2007 the 11th edition of the Henk Lubberding classic will take place. How did this race come into existence ?

Henk Lubberding: I was asked by Sjaak Reumer. I support his idea of motivating people who ride a bike to apply for a license. And I love to see my name in connection to that!



    More about „Teambuilding met Henk Lubberding at

    During the Henk Lubberding bike clinics on Lanzarote the particpants will stay at the Club la Santa []

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Hall of fame: Gavia June 5, 1988 interviews

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