Monday, October 29, 2007

George Mount and Gelati Sammontana.



This is my second Italian wool jersey,  1982 squadra Gelati Sammontana Benotto. You guessed it, ice cream manufacturer; Sammontana and Benotto bikes. During the mid eighties in Edmonton,  I bought this cool looking jersey from a bike store that had a closing out sale. It's still in exceptional condition and construction. Felt lettering never looked so good! 

American cyclist George Mount belonged to the team in '81 and '82. Another pioneer from the new world, riding in the old world. He finished in sixth spot at the 1976 Montreal Olympic road race with top guys; Jean Rene Bernadeau, Fons De Wolf, and Vittorio Algeri. Later, he would go on to win the 1978  Coor's  Classic Stage Race.
Mount belonged to a strong team, and he rode for star rider's; Moreno Argentin and Roberto Visentini. 
That's Mount in his trademark sunglasses, 5th from the right.



Thursday, October 25, 2007

L'ardoisier à moto



My latest print, "l'ardoisier à moto",  is the chalkboard holder that sits on the rear seat of the motorcycle with information to the riders in a breakaway about the time gap to the chasers. He is also called the "chevalier", and  belongs to one of the oldest, historical artisian trades in the Tdf.  I wanted to show this "non-rider" of cycling as having an important position in bike racing.  Also, he probably has one of the best seats in cycling!

Friday, October 19, 2007

In search of Robert Millar...


I just finished reading the compelling book: In Search of Robert Millar by Richard Moore. Millar was a true enigma to the sport of cycling. Often, hard to understand, misinterpreted and outspoken!

He was perhaps, the greatest Scottish cyclist to come from the UK with KOM win's in Tdf 1984, in the Giro d'italia 1987, and numerous other wins. In his hey day, he was one of the world's top grimpeur, when the mountains loom - he was to be feared. But, his enigmatic and eclectic self seem to be always present; his distance towards others, being vegetarian in a non-vegetarian race world, one of the first to sport a earring and ponytail, and recluse. He rode an envious life on the saddle until when the team he was riding for, Le Groupement(1995), disbanded mid-season, denying him one last pro season.

Then, he disappeared from the public's prying eyes and was alleged to be living as a... woman. It was this allegation that probably forced him to go away. To this day, his whereabouts are unknown.

Wherever he is, we should be less cynical of him and thank him for his great riding accomplishments that he has given to the world of cycling.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Crevaison, l'enfer du nord 1986


This is my latest print, entitled "Crevaison, l'enfer du nord 1986". Translated, "Flat! the hell of the north 1986". One of my favorite one day classic race, Paris Roubaix, is steeped in history, drama, and martyrdom. Two Paris Roubaix warriors I admire for their tenacity; Steve Bauer and 3 time winner Francesco Moser  ride past an unlucky rider that flated on the cobblestones.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Signor Pinarello





It was November 1984, in Treviso, Italy  that I stepped into the special world of professional cycling  to meet a very  interesting man.  His name is Giovanni Pinarello, famous for producing his racing bicycles and for the countless victories under accomplish star cyclists;  Guido de Rosso,  Fausto Bertoglio, Giovanni Battaglin, Miguel Indurain, Pedro Delgaldo just to name a few.  He came from a humble, rural background, eight of twelve brothers born in between the World Wars in Catena de Villorba, 1922. 

I remember him as friendly, approachable and with a strong presence. He spoke no english,  I spoke few words of Italian. An assistant was called in to translate and all was well. I brought along my Velo City bike cap and team t-shirt from my Edmonton cycling club as a gift. He was so warm of this gesture he proceeded to give me a personal tour of his factory! I couldn't believe it!  We walked to the factory just beside the sales shop. It was  very busy  as I saw old and young men in overalls and work smocks  brazing tubes. I was free to walk about and to take pictures. They all work at a fenetic yet organize pace under the careful supervision of Giovanni Pinarello. He shows me everything in the plant, from the assembly section to the finish paint room. I marvel at a fully stocked warehouse , of course, with Campagnolo parts.  Beautifully, finished bikes were arranged neatly before shipping  to  destinations like South America and Canada. I even saw the "Metauromobili/Pinarello team car parked in front of the building.  I met team manager, Mauro Battaglini, and we talked about Steve Bauer's  3rd placing at the Worlds in Barcelona. He predicted that Bauer will pull a "surprise win"  at the Worlds in Bassano del Grappa.  It was not to be,  veteran Joop  Zotemelk  pulled the "surprise win" and outsprints Lemond and Argentin for the rainbow jersey.  We talk about one of my favorite climbers, Belgian star Lucien Van Impe. His contract will end  and he will eventually leave Metauromobili and ride for the Italian outfit; Santini Krups Conti. 

As my tour comes to a close I spot a wonderful selection of team jerseys.  Most of the current jerseys are here: Gis, Carrera, US Pro, La vie Clare... I decided on Metauromobili and Reynolds. My favorite is Metauromobili because it's classic Italian craftsmanship of felt lettering on wool. As a final gesture, Signor Pinarello hands me stickers, crests, posters, a waterbottle, and a t-shirt as a parting gift. He graciously invites me back next year to watch the world championship road race. I noticed a hint of pride on his face when he said this.

After some 23 years, now,  I am a proud owner of these two jerseys and have very fond memories of this true gentleman artisan  from the old world of cycling!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cycling and the Monotype...

My passion for Le Tour de France was born  after joining Velo City Bicycling Club in Edmonton and watching Steve Bauer almost win the gold at the 1984 L.A. Olympics. Eight years later, while attending Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver I experienced the simple pleasures of the art of printmaking. In particularly, the "Monotype".
A Monotype is a single print pulled from a plexiglas plate on which ink has been applied. The image is transferred to paper by a press and the result is a one of a kind original image hence the prefix "mono". Before pressing the plate, I scan the entire plexiglas and output each image as a limited edition print. 
Today, I have amassed quite a number and will be starting another one for my new series entitled, "Non romantic imagery of the Tour de France". There will be a website upcoming soon!
I'm tired and off to bed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cafe de Colombia


A day off from work is an luxury for a number of things: sleeping in, relaxing with copious amounts of your favorite cafe, not watching the clock, and going out for a spin. I'm not big on riding in the rain and I always try to avoid it, but, when you haven't gone in the last couple days - you go!
I waited for a break in the weather and decided this was my chance! It began to rain, and although it was on and off, I was glad to wear my "Cafe de Colombia" cycling cap under my helmet. It functions fantastically to repel the rain, cuts the wind, and acts as an insulating layer on your head.
The 1983 Tour de France was opened to amateurs and professionals, and Colombia was the only amateur nation to send a team. Tour officials hoped they would do well but they were at a disadvantage, with some of their best riders opting to stay at home for the Coors Classic and the fact that they were the only amateur team leaving them totally isolated.
But, they did return as professionals and in 1985 Lucho Herrera, also known as "el jardinerito" (the little gardener), set a record points total to win the Grand Prix de la Montagne (polka-dot jersey) and finished seventh overall. He would go on to repeat and win the polka-dot jersey in 1987. Also, he was the first ever Colombian to win a stage in the Tour and this happen in 1984.
He was a great climber and a true pioneer in the Tour.
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