Albert Zweifel, consistently named Albert Zwiefel by the Helvetians, was not a winner from the beginning. "Albert Zweifel was a debutant, like there are so many", Hans Heusser, chairman of the Radsport Verein Wetzikon, remembers. "In the beginning we even advised him to choose a different sport. Zweifel ignored our advice. He was so fond of cycling that he hardly cared about the disappointing results".
His studies took up a lot of time back then. Zweifel followed a four-year course to become a bodywork mechanic. When he reached fifth place at the world championships in London in 1973 he finally started to believe in a career as a professional rider. Zweifel immediately became a professional rider and did not have much competition in his own country. His breakthrough became a fact when he reached second place during the world championships in the Swiss Melchnau in 1975. Only Roger de Vlaeminck was faster that day.
e had come a long way for that, because Albert Zweifel already made his world championships debut in Zurich in 1967 at the age of 17. The Swiss cycling association even had to request dispensation from the UCI for this. He did not reach the finish then. For that matter, the red-haired Helvetian never could impress while riding with the amateurs. His fifth place in London was his first international success, but after that his career did develop more rapidly, which resulted in a silver medal with the professional riders in Melchnau. During the next season he won 28 of the 37 races that he took part in. He became the Swiss champion and won his first rainbow jersey by beating Peter Frischknecht and André Wilhelm.
During the next years, Zweifel ruled with an iron hand. He conquered the world title four times in a row and it took a superior Liboton to stop the Swiss from winning a new title in his own country. On a slippery track in Wetzikon Zweifel had to be satisfied with a fourth place. He fell in the final stage, causing him to lose contact with the leaders.
In 1986, in the Belgian Lembeek Zweifel surprisingly won his fifth rainbow jersey. He was about to announce his leaving, but of course he could not do so after such success. The Swiss, who made a fortune with his sport, continued for three more seasons.
Albert Zweifel was one of the few Swiss riders who was also successful abroad. Albert Zweifel was mainly a mud expert. When the riders' legs sunk deep into the mud and were practically unrecognisable after a cyclo-cross race, Albert Zweifel really felt like a fish in the water. He also obtained his biggest successes on soggy tracks, like in the French Chazay d'Azergues, where he won his first rainbow jersey in 1976. In 1979, the Swiss rider was also presented with a custom-made track in the Italian Saccolongo. He fought out a brilliant battle with his fellow-countryman Peter Frischknecht. In 1986 in the quagmire of Lembeek he also fought out a battle with a fellow-countryman for the world title. That time the young Pascal Richard got the short end of the stick. Thanks to all those triumphs, Albert Zweifel is just as well-known in Switzerland as Ferdi Kübler.
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