Apr 29, 2009

Giovanni Battaglin: a Giro/Vuelta Double

Giovanni Battaglin's 1981 Double,
Stylish & classy, wearing the Maglia Rosa...

The Giro d'Italia will be making it's 100th appearance this May 9th. Here's a story on one of my favorite riders from the seventies/eighties. Italian cyclist and well known frame builder, Giovanni Battaglin won 52 races between 1973 and 1984. His finest achievement was the 1981 Giro/Vuelta double.

His first year in 1973, saw the rouleur-climber or 'passista-scalatore' race very well in the Giro d'Italia. Not bad for the 21 year old finishing second on the Carpegna stage and solidifying his third place behind Felice Gimondi. That year nobody could touch or catch the winner, Merckx.
Joining Inoxpran in 1980 under the guidance of director sportif Luciano Pezzi, gave Battaglin the right tools to battle Hinault & Wladimiro Panizza to third overall.

His revenge would come...

The following year in 1981, at the age of 30 would be his finest year of his career. The Italian Inoxpran team was the only foreign team amongst a relatively weak Spanish field. The only real challenge for him was up the 30.5 km uphill Sierra Nevada time trial. He commented after tackling the freezing fog, "It was suffocating - you could've cut it with a knife." The superior Battaglin carried the leader's jersey, the amarillo jersey all the way to the finish in Madrid.

But, the Giro was tougher as he narrowly beat Tommy Prim (Bianchi-Paggio, by 38 seconds) & Beppe Saronni (Gis-Gelati, third at 50 seconds). "I gave it everything in the time trails and in the mountains, winning the stage in the Dolomites to San Vigilio di Marebbe and taking three third places," says Battaglin. He would go on to join the elite group of those who had won two of the major stage races in the same year.

Giovanni Battaglin shares that fine honor with; Eddy Merckx (1973) & Alberto Contador (2008)!

... and with the amarillo jersey!

Apr 27, 2009

Tour 89!

Lemond about to rip out Fignon's heart!

Do you know when you come across a book that you just can't put it down? I've collected the Tour series of books from 1983-1988. These fine books are on the Giro d'Italia & Le Tour de France and are simply one of my favorite cycling books. Written by Pierre Martin with contributions from the splendid photographer, Cos Vos is both captivating and reminiscent of the times. I first bought the Tour 83 at Velo-City Cycles in Edmonton and quickly fell in love with the great photos and cycling journalism. These books fed me the raw drama of European cycle sport. And kept my cycling interest.... alive. I craved more and bought the next two books. But unfortunately, I lost my connection with it and only found it again on E-bay. My friend, Duane who is an avid ebayer, helped me with the purchase and I now have Tour 89. Great find, it arrived this past weekend in mint condition.

That year was historical with Laurent Fignon showing his superior comeback form in securing victory in the Giro. His Tour was another story as his attempt for a third was pummeled into the tarmac by the other comeback kid, Greg Lemond. You will remember that he almost died in that shooting accident. The final time trial was an exercise in technology with the strongest man winning. The tri-bars & helmet, who can forget that! Lemond beating a surprised Fignon by a mere 8 seconds, the closest in Tour history.

I love this book and will re-read it over & over again for the wonderful writing & the great cycling imagery. Now that I have this, I'm looking for Tour 90!

Apr 26, 2009

Vuelta Ciclista a Espana.

Vuelta Ciclista a Espana.
Spain, late 1980's.

My Sunday board game with well detailed cardboard riders!

Love the riders!


Galstudio: Tifosi & Vuelta Cycling Cap!

Here Ye! Here Ye!

Galstudio is pleased to announce two new funky cycling caps!

What's Carolle up to?: twitter.com/galstudio

Apr 25, 2009

L.B.L.-The Grand Lady.

The Cannibal wipes his face after winning his
third L.B.L by beating Frans Verbeeck in a controversial finish!

Tomorrow will be the oldest classic, the 94th Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It's one of my favorite Monuments, dating far back to 1892. Great battles have been raged on the climbs (côtes) of this 261 km brute of a race. No surprise, as the Belgians' love their heroes, and Eddy Merckx is king with the record of 5 victories. The weather can be a factor, too. Snow and blizzard in 1972 & 1980 made the old lady a vicious one. Especially in 1980 where Hinault rode a tremendously brave race for a classic victory. We'll have to see if the Old Lady bites back again come Sunday. Then again, the weather may not play such a tumultuous role. But, I'm sure the race will be worthy of the great lady!

My prediction for Sundays grand classic: 1. Rebellin, 2. Evans, 3. Cunego, 4. F or A Schleck, 5. Valverde.

Merckx feeling it in 1972...
the weather was atrocious.

Merckx's first of five,
with help from teammate, Vic Van Schil.
The pair arrived in Rocourt nine minutes
in the lead!

Neige-Bastogne-Neige, 1980.

The Badger battles the cold, snow & the wind to win, perhaps, the toughest LBL. The temperature went below zero, Hinault completed this seven hour marathon with just shorts, a long-sleeved jersey, a pair of gloves and a balaclava for warmth.
His crushing performance breaking a high quality field is proof of his tenaciousness.
Of 174 starters, 21 manage to finish this grueling monument. He was nine minutes ahead of second place, Hennie Kuiper.
Afterwards the Badger said it best, "My greatest enemy was the cold!"

Kelly, 1984.
His first LBL win. The duct tape seems over the top but
give the Irishman a gold star for valor. A few weeks earlier, he had just won his first Paris-Roubaix!

Apr 23, 2009

Marco Zamorra... Enjoy!

My inspiration comes in many forms and art hovers at the top spot for me. I was email this from my brother, Ron the other day and I love the depiction of simple energy. This is from LA illustrator, Marco Zamorra and the more I look at this artpiece the more I 'enjoy' it!

Apr 22, 2009

The Model To Follow.

Portland: Culture on Two Wheels...

Today is Earth Day and I did my turn for the world (and myself) by going on an hour and a half ride to the University of B.C. A cool day as I had a luxurious amount of time to think and contemplate on life and cycling. I thought about how Portland as a fairly young city is metamorphosing itself as an model cycling culture. Portland's a great city with an exemplary grassroots mindset to cycling. A pioneering city and a wonderful model to follow. Here's a very interesting article from the N.Y. Times!

... with a cycling-friendly attitude!
© 2009 Richard Lee - All Rights Reserved

Apr 20, 2009

The Mur-derous Huy!

The Great rush up towards the lethal Mur de Huy!

The second great race of the Ardennes classics commences Wednesday with; La Fleche Wallonne, or the Walloon Arrow. Since 1983, the Mur de Huy (Wall of Huy) was introduced and should be really called, the Wall of Pain! Because of the grade is 9.3%, this monster tops out at a lethal 26%. It's climbed three times finishing at the top of the Mur, where the race will be dramatically decided. There's plenty of tough classic specialists in contention for the win, but to win is to get to the top of the Mur de Huy first. This video is from last year's finish. And, you have to admire Wegman for his solo attack but cried when he was engulfed by Evans, Kirchen, Cunego & Company for the final run up. My prediction: I'm going for a vengeful Cadel Evans to bring his first classic home!

Apr 19, 2009

Galstudio: Take Three!

'Bella Fiore'

Galstudio has added three more delicious cycling caps placating to form & foxyish function!


'Capello da ciclismo Nero'
w/ bold red stripe!

All images © 2009 Galstudio - All Rights Reserved

Apr 18, 2009


Today, Carolle and I met with old friends, Toby & Pam who are two of three masterminds of Propellor Design based here in Vancouver. I have a direct tie end with them when their partner Nik contacted me about an incredible idea of creating a exhibition on Vancouver's bicycle culture. I quickly contacted Hans who in turn called up Fritz. Toby and Nik had an eye-opener of a visit to see Fritz's grand bicycle collection. I heard they were happily floored by it and I'm pleased to hear that Fritz donated four bicycles to the show. Toby and I both belonged to the Velocity Cycling Club back in Edmonton during the eighties so our cycling bond is strong.

Toby mentioned that they just finished working nonstop for about nine months and will launch the show this June 4th, 2009 - September 7th, 2009. It's called, "Velo-City, Vancouver & The Bicycle Revolution."

I'm very excited and if you have a chance, ride on by to see this unique bicycle exhibition!

Apr 17, 2009

Take time for an Amstel.

Now, can I have an Amstel?
2001: Erik Dekker beats out L.A.
to become the last Dutch hero!

With the impending start of the Ardennes classics this Sunday the Dutch Amstel Gold Race takes center stage. It's the 44th edition, young for a classic but already nestled importantly along with older races, Fleche-Wallonne (this Wednesday) and Liege-Bastogne-Liege (next Sunday).

The race has the distinction of being Holland's largest and most important pro race. Dutch fans will be out in waves cheering for a countryman to win. Long time coming as Erik Dekker was the last Dutchman to enjoy a Amstel beer or win back in 2001. The racers won't have an easy time of it. Holland's hardly flat and the riders will have to deal with 31 climbs slowly taking the sting out of their legs. To make it worst the finish ends atop the Cauberg, the decisive end to a hilly race going out to a classic climber!

Apr 16, 2009


Here's a retro look back at a few of the winning Renault-Elf-Gitane cycling team riders that dominated throughout the eighties.

Apr 15, 2009

off the beaten path.

The well made bike path.
I hope the city soon removes that annoying sign!

Good day as I ventured on a 2 hour ride, testing my new 13-24T seven speed freewheel. My old Regina America 13-21T finally had to be retired to be replace by the Sunrace. It's Taiwan made and sure works well enough. As far as I can remember, I've always rode with a 13-21T but you know something, the 24 is a huge welcome. My new granny gear along with the 42T small chainring gets me up the hills much easier. And my legs are liking that!

One of my favorite images from,
Rouleur's Photography Annual 2008.

Afterwards, As I made my way towards Hans studio, I saw a beautiful site. Just before Clark Drive I had the joy of riding over a brand new bike path. Well marked about a half block long it snakes it's way through a small city park. Cyclists will never have to share the narrow sidewalk with pedestrians. Now, cyclists have a safer and larger pathway to ride on.

Hans had an extra copy of Rouleur's Photography Annual 2008 book waiting for me. Big thanks to Hans for this treasured gift!

Maple Leaf Flying! - Canadian Dominque Rollin (Cervelo TT) avoided a spectacularly ugly crash in the closing meters to grab third at the 97th Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen. It's a Belgian semi classic race aimed at the sprinters. Perfectly flat along with the appropriate duress causing cobble sections it's made for the 'horse from the north'. And it's exciting to see him pick up his first European podium. In fact, last Monday he just missed the podium and finished in fifth spot at the Ronde van Drenthe. I sense a big win is coming his way very soon.

97th Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen results:

1. Allesandro Pettachi (LPR Brakes) 4.27.20
2. Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) @ s.t.
3. Dominique Rollin (Cervelo-TT) @ s.t.

Apr 14, 2009

Portland Sculpture-Culture.

All images © 2009 Richard Lee - All Rights Reserved.

Here's a few of my images highlighting Portland's hip street sculpture-culture!

Apr 13, 2009

Painful memories are made of this.

Chaos. The Roubaix way!

Now that we have only painful memories of Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. Watching this video, we'll never forget it...

I can't wait until next year!


The Cramerotti Viadante lugged frame
prominently on displayed.
The Celeste like paint scheme is similar to another famous Italian frame builder!

I rode over to friendly Campione Cycles with Ron for a second look of the Cramerotti 'Biscotti' steel road frame. A very beautiful steel 'made in Italy' frame worthy in any distinguished bike collection. Straight road geometry and no sloping top tube on this retro Italian frame. He's highly interested in the 'Biscotti' steel frame/fork minus the beautiful lug work but still very eye catching. Color choice is virtually endless with a rich palette range. I love the light blue or what I call the Azzurro Ferretti blue. Italian love? I'm starting to want one, too! And, how can you not like the white band on the down tube? It's classic! The Campagnolo Veloce looks likely the comparable gruppo for his needs. He'll digest the numbers and I feel time is on his side until he makes the final decision to buy it. I hope it's soon...

When he does, I can't wait to ride it!

Apr 12, 2009

In the glory of the trine!

Taken it for 'granite'...
1st. Torpedo Tom
2nd. Pippo
3rd. The Hammer
4th. Leif Hoste, 5th. J. Van Summeren, 6th. J.A. Flecha,
44th. G. Hincapie.

I'm spending this dreary rainy day inside creating a new painting on ... Paris-Roubaix. The rain soaked day won't keep me down as I just witnessed the brutal ride from Torpedo Tom as he swerved around fallen riders and stayed on his Specialized bike long enough to join an elite circle. He now belongs with the luminaries of the trine: Octave Lapize, Gaston Rebry, Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Francesco Moser & Johan Museeuw. With some twenty k's to go my favorite's, Flecha & Hushovd literally fell by the wayside giving Boonen the chance to ride on through. Only the chasing Pozzato provided the last ditch attempt by an adversary to challenge the Torpedo. He got close ... to within ten seconds. No one could catch him not even the Hammer as he tried in vain to bridge the gap. Which begs the question...

What would've the result been had the Arrow & the Hammer found themselves going mano to mano with Torpedo Tom for the final sprint?

There's always next year!

Fire three!
Today, the Queen gets hit a third time by the Torpedo!

Apr 11, 2009

1990 Paris-Roubaix.

The dramatic finish to a fantastic edition of the Queen. Steve Bauer's very close brush with destiny leaves a hell of a lasting impression!

Apr 10, 2009

A new trio of cycling caps!

'Major Tom'

Carolle has created five more dazzling cycling caps for sale on Etsy.
These are just 3 out of the 5 caps.
And, I encourage everyone to visit her site.


'Diaveletto' (little devil)


Apr 9, 2009

La Pascale: the Easter race.

Covered in honor...
Sean Kelly in the church of suffering in 1983!

Probably the most cruelest and toughest race on the calendar starts this Easter Sunday, the great Paris-Roubaix. This wonderful race adapted so well with Easter that it preaches a certain religious allegory of redemption through suffering. Two time winner, Sean Kelly said that it was the hardest race of all... and the most beautiful to win. It was so difficult that it hurt him to pee for three days afterwards. No wonder it's also called, La Pascale: the Easter race.

The first edition started back in 1896, according it as one of the oldest races in professional cycling. Only the two world wars stopped it. But, it's endured for it's passion for the hardship on the pave. In the aftermath of the first world war plans began for the race's return in 1919. Victor Breyer, correspondent for the newspaper L'Auto, went with cyclist Eugene Christophe and toured the devastated bombed out countryside. Afterwards, Breyer coined the famous phrase: "l'enfer du Nord or the Hell of the North."

Some of the pave is so old it predates back to Napoleon. Now, the dirt paths are use for the occasional farm machinery but, on this special Sunday reserved for a bunch of determined cyclists. There are 28 cobbled sections with the Trouee d'Arenberg or the trench of Arenberg as one of the most difficult to negotiate due to the unusually large pave. It is here that 2400 meters of cobbles were laid in time of Napoleon. Symbolic and dramatic, it's the spot that decides the race. Eddy Merckx said, "This isn't where you win Paris-Roubaix but it's where you can lose it."

On top of the temple...
A champion size cobblestone for
Jean-Marie Wampers, 1989!

More sinister is what 1962 world road champion & ex miner Jean Stablinski said, "In the mine, when the cage takes you 500 meters underground, you don't know for sure if you'll ever come back up. Arenberg is like a descent into the coal mine. If you start to think of the danger you won't even go there."


Beware the sacred Arenberg Forest...

For it is,

.... and dramatic!

Apr 7, 2009

Juan Antonio Flecha: The Spanish Flandrian.

The classic 'Arrow'.

Juan Antonio Flecha ('The Spanish Flandrian') has very good reason for classic victory in tomorrow's Gent-Wevelgem. He is one of the 'almost winning a big classic rider' around. He has enough experience to finally pull the big one. A formidable classic rider he helped teammate Oscar Freire win last years Wevelgem.

He relishes the cold and the 'nice' horrible classic conditions and can only rub his hands in glee for tomorrow's race. I hear showers are in the forecast! Back in the 2005 Gent-Wevelgem, the Spaniard just missed victory with a very close second place. Known as the sprinters classic, Flecha has more than enough for the final dash to the line. And, I believe he's ready to tackle the Kemmelberg with rockets on and look out pave, here he comes!

Coppi a pioneer off the bike.

He knew hydration was key...

Fausto Coppi was an innovator both on and off the bike. He believed a balance diet of meat, whole grain breads, pasta, vegetables and plenty of mineral water and importantly rest was a precursor to the modern training methods for todays riders.

A true pioneer in the art of racing!

... with plenty of sleep!

Apr 6, 2009

Tour of Flanders cycling cap.

Carolle's newest classic:
'The Tour of Flanders cycling cap.'

Galstudio introduces, 'The Tour of Flanders cycling cap!'

Carolle's very busy creating more funky handmade cycling caps. A classic cap with a classic black stripe. Nice classic cap & a great double for Stijn Devolder!

Apr 5, 2009

La cote de Laffrey. Love for the mountains.

'La Cote de Laffrey, 1987.'
All images are copyright @ Richard Lee.
Now for sale as a greeting card
or print. Any questions? Feel free to email me: info@cyclingart.ca

I'm introducing my print called, 'Descente de La Cote de Laffrey 1987', now selling on Etsy. The Tour de France first introduced the mountain back in 1947.

Henri Desgrange presented the Pyrenees mountains in the 1910 Tour. In January of 1910, he sent his associate Alphonse Steines to survey the route ...in a snowstorm! Back then, mountain roads were little more than cow paths. As legend has it bears & outlaws were spotted along the route. And that's why the riders feared it as they trudged up the narrow, steep paths. True or false it surely added to the legend. It was a bold move by the tyrannical Desgrange to include the mountains. By including this element of adventure, made the Tour epic. And it was a great way to sell his newspapers. After this Tour, L'Auto was rewarded with a record circulation of 300,000 doubling the figure of 1908.

For this Tour, Desgrange relented, somewhat by adding the voiture-balai or broom wagon to pick up any exhausted stragglers in the race. In 1911, he added the Alps to the Tour, notably the Galibier. Desgrange wrote in a collection of poems, 'Adoration', of his love for the mountains...
Desgrange wrote, "Oh Laffrey! Oh Bayard! Oh Tourmalet! I don't hesitate to proclaim to the Galibier you are but pale and vulgar babies. In front of this giant there is nothing more for you to do but take off your hats and bow from down below."

The inclusion of the mountains changed the Tour forever. Riders now had to be adept at climbing to be successful. All those riders of yesteryear were amazingly resilient. They rode with canvas food bags on their handlebars with holes cut out at the bottom to let the rain escape. Spare tires were carried, wrapped around their shoulders. And huge goggles protected them from the grime, stones and the endless stinging dust.

I believe the 1911 Tour winner, Gustave Garrigou said it best, "It wasn't anything superhuman because we weren't supermen, and I'm the proof, a man like anybody else... because I climbed all the way up without walking. It was our job. The prizes, the primes, the contracts. I was a professional. It was just life!"

Apr 4, 2009


Ok, it may not be the Arenberg forest & minus the throngs of fans...
...but, we're thinking of it!

This morning, I enjoyed a scenic ride with Guy, of le grimpeur fame, as we rode to Richmond & Steveston. A portion of the route was off the beaten path and on dirt & rock trails we named it appropriately, Richmond-Roubaix. To offset the almost 'pave' like conditions, we stopped for a much needed coffee where we came across a rather good looking Eddy Merckx steel bike. I thought that this was not an unusual creature for the pave. In fact, the owner was beside us having a morning coffee. Was he about to jump onto the 'pave'?

As the picturesque fishing village of Steveston lies beside the Fraser River, it's also well known for fantastic fish n' chips...

That just might be on the next ride!

Enjoying our java's and the site of the Eddy Merckx.
Hardly a rare creature on the pave!

On our Marinoni's and yet another dirt trail with Guy.
Riding beside the peaceful Fraser River
and I'm thinking of fish n' chips!
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