In 1980, there were exactly four professional bike racers in America. Six years later, an American cycling team would wear the coveted yellow jersey of the Tour de France. And that same team would go on to win Italy’s greatest race—the Giro d’Italia—only two years later. Team 7-Eleven is the extraordinary story of how two Olympic speed skaters, Jim Ochowicz and Eric Heiden, pulled together a small group of amateur cyclists and turned them into one of the greatest cycling teams the sport has known. From humble beginnings in a barn in Pennsylvania to soaring victories in the French Alps, Team 7-Eleven is the complete history that has never been fully told—until now.
The 7-Eleven Cycling Team—Team 7-Eleven for short—launched the careers of American cycling superstars Andy Hampsten, Davis Phinney, Bob Roll, Ron Kiefel, and many more. It also changed the cycling world, creating a new team structure based on multiple stars, unified goals, and personal sacrifice for the greater good. And yet at the time it was formed, the number of American cyclists with world-class experience could be counted—literally—on one hand. And the number of American teams that competed in Europe’s biggest races was exactly zero.
Team 7-Eleven is the amazing story of how two cycling fans found one exceptional sponsor and created the greatest American cycling team of its era.
Written with the enthusiastic cooperation of the team members, Team 7-Eleven will impress cycling fans with behind-the-scenes stories of the team’s founding, its growing pains, and its lasting success as the team that established America as a powerhouse in the world of professional cycling.
Read excerpts from Team 7-Eleven on the VeloPress History of the Tour de France Page.
Team 7-Eleven: How an Unsung Band of American Cyclists Took on the World–and Won
Geoff Drake with Jim Ochowicz
Forewords by Eric Heiden and Eddy Merckx
Hardcover with jacket. 100 color and b&w photographs throughout.
6″ x 9″, 320 pp., $27.95, 9781934030530
Team 7-Eleven (paperback edition)
Foreword by Eric Heiden
Foreword by Eddy Merckx
1: In 1980, there were four pro cyclists in America.
2: Eric Heiden in Lake Placid
3: Blades to Bikes
4: 7-Eleven and the 1984 Olympics
5: Och Goes Shopping
6: San Diego
7: The Coors Classic
8: You Don’t Mess Around with a Davis Phinney
9: Ron Kiefel
10: A Nod and a Wink: Alex Stieda
11: The Olympics Arrive
12: To the Giro
13: Mike Neel, Horse Whisperer
14: Kiefel Takes the Stage
15: Stieda Takes Yellow
16: Andy Hampsten Joins In
17: Tour Time
18: Cinghiale Comes of Age
19: Eddy Merckx, Team Sponsor
20: 7-Eleven to Motorola
7-Eleven Through History: Senior Team Rosters
About the Authors
“The new Team 7-Eleven book brought back great memories. Och and Geoff did a great job capturing the evolution of the team. I want to thank Och for his tenacious energy and 7-Eleven for their financial support. Together, they gave us a chance to live out a kid’s wildest dream.” — Eric Heiden, 5-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Team 7-Eleven cofounder
“[Team 7-Eleven] catalogues every episode, from the colorful characters to the shocking successes, in a methodical chronology of the team’s decade-long run, with a special emphasis on describing its unusual roots in the 1970s ”blade-and-bikes” world of speedskating and track cycling, and its critical first few tours of Europe where the effects of an American team in Europe were most acutely felt. Apart from the races, the story of Jim Ochowicz and the Southland Corporation are not to be missed.” — Podium Café
“What wonderful and painful memories Och and Geoff brought to life in the new Team 7-Eleven book! From the early ‘Ranch Dog’ days to the Tour de France victories, the stories and level of detail are spot on. Och provided the opportunity for us cowboys to show the world we had the mettle.” — Ron Kiefel, Team 7-Eleven rider
“The Team 7-Elevenbook is an essential history for anyone who has ever swung a leg over the top tube of a racing bike…Of note, though, is how gratifying the actual reading of the book has been. For a book gourmand such as your author, Drake serves up fine writing fare by the fork full.” — Le Grimpeur
“I greedily read Team 7-Eleven and discovered some new nuances to stories I thought I knew. Drake and Och captured the spirit of the team and brought it back to life.” — Alex Stieda, Team 7-Eleven rider and the first North American to wear the Tour de France yellow jersey
“The [Team 7-Eleven] book is rich in details, well-paced and very entertaining, although it is at times overly nationalistic…But it was as the first team in the United States that was operated in a professional manner, with sufficient funding and associated marketing, developing a generation of star riders, that it raised the profile of bike racing in North America. This makes it a worthy subject for a book and Team 7-Eleven is an excellent addition to the history of the sport.” — Pezcyclingnews
“For me, Geoff and Jim’s book Team 7-Eleven passed that fact-check test. What I didn’t expect was that I would get drawn into remembering the amazing bike race battles that Sergent Rock van Och lead us into. And to think that we followed him!” — Tom Schuler, Team 7-Eleven rider
“I thought I knew a lot about the riders and their famous victories, like Andy Hampsten’s remarkable Giro d’Italia win in 1988 and Alex Steida, Jeff Pierce and Davis Phinney’s stage wins in the Tour de France. But [Team 7-Eleven] is so full of fascinating details and behind-the-scenes anecdotes that I couldn’t put it down….What I liked most about the book is learning the backgrounds of the people who joined the team over the years, how they got into cycling, their racing achievements and how they ended up on 7-Eleven….Reading this story, you get to know them, what motivated them and what made them such an integral part of the team.” — RoadBikeRider.com
“I thank Geoff Drake for the honest way I think things are written in the book. Team 7-Eleven is very accurate. Drake puts history in a perspective that made me sentimental about what we did as a team. At the time, we didn’t know whether we were part of a vision, an impulse, or a youthful dare!” — George Taylor, 7-Eleven cycling team sports sponsorship agent
“Team 7-Eleven is a true joy to read; it’s very difficult to put down…Geoff Drake is to be congratulated on a book that successfully occupies two distinct spaces; it is an essential read if this period of cycling is one that passed you by, or one that is before your time. But it is also a more than indispensible appreciation of a team that undoubtedly occupies a favoured place in recent cycling history.” — TheWashingMachinePost.net
“[Team 7-Eleven’s] history is chronicled in great detail. Longtime cycling journo Geoff Drake and Jim Ochowicz (one of the team’s co-founders) highlight the trials and tribulations of putting the team on an international stage.” — NBCSports.com
“Team 7-Eleven is a lively, easy read, along the lines of Inside the Postal Bus…It is a well deserved testament to the enormity of Jim Ochowicz’s achievement, and an overdue look at the constructing of the first American team to compete overseas. The kit is iconic, the team was featured in ”American Flyers” and at this point are not only an important piece of cycling history, but a slice of Americana as well.” — NYVelocity.com
“Team 7-Eleven is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about the history of U.S. racing and how the groundwork was established for the eventual domination of Lance Armstrong and the current crop of top U.S. pros.” — RoadBikeRider.com
“Assembling the picture of what happened to cycling in the ’80s is like piece together a jigsaw puzzle…Team 7-Eleven is an important piece of that jigsaw puzzle.” — Cyclismas.com