Tommy Prim

Tommy Prim

Tommy Prim (born July 19 1955 in Svenljunga in southern Sweden) was a professional cyclist who rode for the Italian Bianchi team between the years of 1980 and 1986. In 1983 he became the first Scandinavian rider to win a classic race when he was victorious in Paris-Brussels, his other career highlights include winning Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie as well as twice finishing runner up in the Giro d'Italia in 1981 and 1982.

Prim rode for the local CK Wano cycling club in Varberg as a youngster and became Swedish Junior champion in 1972, as an amateur he was Swedish champion in 1976 and 1979 as well the Scandinavian amateur champion in 1975 and 1976. He took the under 22 classification of the British Milk Race in 1976, in what was his first trip abroad with the Swedish national team. In 1978 and 1979 Prim turned in top class performances in the highly rated Italian stage race Settimana Bergamasca, which has been won by some of the Worlds top riders before they turned professional. Prim’s feats in the Bergamasca race caught the eye of the top professional teams and at the end of 1979 Prim turned professional with the Italian Bianchi-Piaggio squad, a decision which was made easier by the presence of fellow Scandinavians Knut Knudsen and Alf Segersäll in that team. His team manager would be master tactician Giancarlo Ferretti.

Prim’s made an immediate impact as a professional in his debut season of 1980, he finished seventh in the early season Tour of Sardinia and was part of the Bianchi team that won the team time trial stage at Paris-Nice, this good form ensured him a ride in the Giro d’Italia where he took a stage into Teramo as well as finishing fourth overall and taking the young riders jersey. He was also disqualified after winning the stage into Sorrento when he rode Italian sprinter Giovanni Mantovani into the barriers. Later that season he won the Italian one day race the Coppa Agostoni.

Prim went to the 1981 Giro d’Italia in top form after winning the Tour de Romandie just prior to the Italian race, he ended up taking the runners up spot behind Giovanni Battaglin, many observers felt that Prim could have won the 1981 Giro if his Bianchi squad had backed him solely instead of having three team leaders (Italians Silvano Contini and Giambattista Baronchelli were the others). In 1982 Prim finished runner up once again in the Giro, beaten by the tactically astute Bernard Hinault. In 1983 he entered the Giro as sole team leader for Bianchi and everything started well when he took the leaders pink jersey after the first stage team time trial, however, his form in the mountains was uncharacteristically poor and he eventually finished a disappointing 15th overall. In September 1983 he won the Paris-Brussels, which at that time was still regarded as a “Classic” race, he went clear with an early break which stayed away for 280 kilometres, he dropped his breakaway companions on the Alsemberg climb just before the finish and remained clear until the finish to become the first Scandinavian rider to win a classic race.

1984 promised great things when Prim won the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race in Italy but his season was ruined when he crashed a few days before the Giro. 1985 saw the team renamed as Sammontana-Bianchi, with a new manager Wladimiro Bortolozzi, Moreno Argentin was brought in to be joint team leader with Tommy. Prim finished that year's Giro in fourth place behind three of the cycling world superstars, Bernard Hinault, Francesco Moser and Greg Lemond. 1986 saw Prim ride a disappointing Giro d’Italia when he finished 21st overall, this prompted his team to say they would not ride the Tour of Sweden which they had always done since it’s reintroduction in 1982. Tommy’s reaction to this was to announce his retirement from cycling midway through the 1986 season at the young age of 31, he was feeling tired and felt he could no longer give it 100%.

After his retirement from cycle racing, Tommy opened a bike shop back in his native Sweden, he then moved to other employment working for a mail order firm, a saw mill and then a salmon smokery. In 2000, Tommy was offered the chance to become team manager at the small UCI registered Team Crescent, a Swedish pro squad which was to promote Swedish under 23 riders He has had some success in bringing through talented riders as the team evolved from Team Crescent to Bianchi Scandinavia to Bianchi Nordic. The team folded at the end of the 2004 season.

Professional Palmares

;1980: 4th Overall Giro d'Italia and one stage: 1st Coppa Agostoni, 2nd Overall Deutschland Tour: 2nd Overall Giro di Trentino: 4th Overall Paris-Nice;1981: 2nd Overall Giro d’Italia: 1st Trofeo Pantalica: 1st Overall Tour de Romandie: 3rd Overall Deutschland Tour;1982: Stage in Setmana Catalana: 1st Overall Tour of Sweden: 2nd Overall Tour de Romandie;1983: 15th Overall Giro d’Italia: 1st Paris-Brussels: 1st Overall Tour of Sweden: 3rd Overall Tour de Romandie: 3rd Baracchi Trophy;1984: 1st Overall Tirreno Adriatico: 2nd Baracchi Trophy;1985: 4th Overall Giro d’Italia: 3rd Overall Tour de Romandie;1986: 21st Overall Giro d’Italia

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