Dec 31, 2010

Forward to 2011!

Riding forward to 2011!

Another year is quickly coming to an end. I would like to thank all my readers for visiting my blog over the past 12 months. You know, I'm looking forward to 2011. With the start of the new cycling season I'm sure there will be unexpected surprises. So, I invite all to check back often...

Happy New Year to all

Cool Pro Head Badges

Mr. Merckx...
From Felix's cool collection...

I think I can safely say this. There's one thing we all share in common is the love for the bike.

We ride it and admire it. The bicycle is tangible ethereal beauty that holds a certain spell over us. I'm waiting, patiently, for my restored Marinoni. And if time dictates, I'll have it to mark the new year of 2011.

As you all know, I have a passion for steel frames (new & old) and I get a kick when I see professional cyclists' head badges. Very distinctive to see a pro's caricature often a mark of a champion, unfortunately not to be seen today.

You'll notice the famous one's of Bobet, Merckx, Thurau... but have you ever heard of Steinmayr or Urago?

Here's a few of my favorite ex-pros head badges...

In color...
The Famous Didi Thurau.

From the Fifties; Francois Urago ex-track pro from Nice.

Wolfgang Steinmayr was a Austrian Pro in the Sixties.

Flashy: Louison Bobet the 3 time Tour Champion.

Dec 29, 2010

The Tashkent Terror!

From out of the blue...
Abdou, with the maillot vert, between
Moutiers & Cluses 1994 Tour.
Photo: Deschamps

Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (one of the longest names in cycling) deserves admiration. Steadfast & deadly, he won three Green Jerseys (1991, '93, '94) & nine Tour stages. This compact and powerful rider from Tashkent, Uzbekistan was always at the ready, fearless & formidable. He was also an anomaly.

I'm bringing to light a story of the notorious sprinter from the insightful article from La Folie Du Tour entitled, "Abdoujaparov: le sprinter venu d'ailleurs," by Laurent Rigoulet.

As a 1983 recruit of the former Soviet cycling system, the sport allowed him to leave Tashkent behind. He was called, 'the Arab' and he was not well liked by the Russians sending him to the obscurity of East Germany. After the Berlin Wall came down his chance arrived. One of his famous exploits came riding the 1991 Tour. He impressed with two stages and in the final kilometre of the Champs Elysees, falling at full speed riding into an inflated Coke can. Concussed along with bruises and a broken collarbone, he was helped up by teammates and medical staff crossing the line 15 minutes after the peloton. He dramatically won his first green jersey. Robert Millar, upon seeing him on the road remarked, "He looked like he fell from an airplane."

For Abdoujaparov and his fellow sprinters, the sprint is called, 'The domain of eagles.' An exercise to cheat death where reasoning has no course with 100 meters left. A crazy world of hits and bone chilling noise. He said, "I try to grab the best wheel. I don't see nothing anymore. All I can see is the arrival banner. It's impossible to be scared, it's going to pass or crash. Why be afraid?"

He was a sprinter that put his head down and plough through, erratic and dangerous. Some of his nicknames were; Tashkent Terror, Tashkent Cowboy & Tashkent Terminator. And while other sprinters, like Jean Van Poppel, rode within the sprinters world of aplomb. Van Poppel was respectfully called, Monsieur Jean-Paul. Abdoujaparov was called by his adversaries... Kid Eater. Other teams feared him and even tried to corral him by boxing him in. He ended up winning by himself saying, "If I don't win, I'm sick. Without danger life is not sweet!"

In 1996, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov magnificently won his last Tour stage to Tulle, solo. A swan song? The following year, at the 1997 Tour he tested positive for Clenbuterol. His cycling career over he abruptly retired and ...quietly faded away.

The end is near...
The sprinter explains his removal due
for doping, 1997 Tour.
Photo: Gaillard

Dec 27, 2010

Mountain Ace

Classy Coppi...

The 1952 Tour included, for the very first time, Alpe-d'Huez, Sestriere and the Puy de Dome. Fausto Coppi already won the Giro and was ready pounce.

...claiming more fame up Sestriere.

On Alpe-d'Huez the only real challenge was from the impish climber Jean Robic. Coppi rode effortlessly away from the Frenchman to a solo victory. His flight of fancy was captured on the first TV pictures from the Tour. The journalist, Pierre Chany described his Alpe-d'Huez spectacle as, "untroubled by the dead weight and useless muscles which makes others look like mules staggering up the mountain passes."

With the Yellow Jersey on his shoulders, he flew to a stage win to Sestriere with just under 20 minutes lead in the overall classification.

Coppi was the first over the Tourmalet and the Aubisque winning the stage into Pau. He was now 27 minutes in the overall lead. He soloed up the extinct volcano at Puy de Dome inflating his lead by 31 minutes. No one could come close to touching him...

A 'walk' in the mountains for Il Campionissimo!

Dec 24, 2010

Christmas Campagnolo Pulleys

The pulleys with the nice retro packaging!

I just received a nice little Christmas gift in the mail. Jim sent me these mint Campagnolo Record Jockey Pulleys.

Thanks Jim!

A Very Merry Christmas To All!

The first mussette?

It's that joyful time to enjoy the festivities. If you got the hint, my previous post was a lead-up...

Have a Merry Christmas everyone & HO, HO, HO!

Dec 23, 2010

Musing for Mussettes & Drink

A 1928 Tour de France cheers!...
Andre Leducq toasts Nicolas Frantz.

Inside today's mussettes are by far science base than their fore fathers ever had. Here's a look at some gourmet choices today & years past.

The revolutionary brothers Pelissiers...
Henri, Charles & Francis.

For the feed zone, (here) the Garmin Transitions Team has these choice morsels in their mussettes. Loaded with the essentials for their riders; electrolyte, Cliff bar/block/gels, rice/egg cake & ham, cream cheese sandwhich & of course a can of Coke.

In times of old, well before science intervened, the mussette was as basic; lumps of sugar, a cooked chicken leg or fruit.

The Pelissiers were amazing riders. In the twenties; Henri, Charles & Francis won many races. In fact, Henri won the 1923 Tour de France. They developed new ways of training that was ahead of the time. I'm not saying scientific but plain smart.  While their colleagues would try to train for many kilometres per day. The Pelissiers derived that short, intense workouts worked better.

When it came to nutrition, the brothers knew how to eat ... less. Back then, races often lasted for many hours and riders had to have enough food to supply them the needed energy. Before the start riders would gorge meals of eggs, cutlets and bananas or anything heavy to sustain them. The problem was too much food to digest would stop a rider from riding off the front. The Pelissiers went for a light breakfast, enabling an early race attack.

They never drank alcohol during a race. A huge advantage over the other riders as they drank themselves silly. Alcohol was one of the longest used artificial stimulants in cycling. The 'happy' Alcyon team drank cognac, white wine, port, and champagne during Bordeaux-Paris. Right up to the 60s and 70s, some riders believed that a shot of eau de vie (fruit brandy) would help them.

Drinking on the job...
Georges Speicher at the 1933 Tour.

Dec 21, 2010

A Tuft Christmas Present.

A Tuft ride in Geelong...
now a new Canadian ride with SpiderTech!
Photo: Shane Goss

An excellent Christmas present for Steve Bauer's emerging SpiderTech team is the signing of Svein Tuft. The Canadian is the first big name to jump from the difficulties of the Pegasus Sports Team ship and land in calmer waters.

I have a good feeling for the SpiderTech team. Canada's first Professional Continental cycling team ranked #1 North American team on the UCI America Tour and with an essential ingredient of Tuft on board is starting to shape out nicely. He slots in well becoming the third rider with valuable Pro Tour experience. The other two are ex-Garmin team members, Lucas Euser & Pat McCarty.

CEO & DS Steve Bauer may have signed one of the worlds best time-trialists & workhorse in Svein Tuft and he knows it. He said, "Svein joining our team is timely. I'm expecting Svein's experience, horsepower and leadership capacities to launch team SpiderTech to new levels. We are estatic with this opportunity to work with Svein."

Another first is that SpiderTech holds the only three Canadian men who medal at the World Road Cycling Championships. Svein Tuft won the silver medal in the time trial at the 2008 Road Championships in Varese. Guillaume Boivin won the bronze at the 2010 U23 World Road Race in Geelong. And, Steve Bauer's bronze medal at the 1984 Road Championships in Barcelona. 

However, the goal is for the Canadian owned team to ride in the Tour... with the experienced Svein Tuft joining the lineup, it's now a step closer!

Dec 20, 2010

Review: Tour De Lance

When I first learned of Bill Stricklands book, 'Tour De Lance', I thought it was just 'another return of' Lance book. Initially, I was dreading it thinking it will be a sugar coated comeback pill. Hard to swallow. Well, I was wrong. My reading experience turned from complacent then cresting up to exhilaration.

Photo: Art Streiber

Strickland has a unique view, literally, of the insides of the 2009 Astana's machine. What a perspective as he writes in detail of the two fiery teammates; Contador & Armstrong. The two stars; one youthful & the aging veteran left me wanting more of their cordial hatred towards each other. You'd think mastermind, Bruyneel brought the two hot heads together to create clever marketing drama.

What I enjoyed is that Strickland doesn't merely hover on the periphery he's full in it. He has access to Johan Bruyneel and the team. Access restricted? Not for him! He roams freely in the close confines of the team car witnessing tactics & strategies even helping at the finish line giving out mussettes.

Strickland's insider account of other riders are further insightful. Dave Zabriskie is one of cycling's quirky. His experience going through a three week Tour with his body depleting itself through hardship is both funny & revealing. Zabriskie explains, "You become stupider and stupider and stupider. You start to do things like leave your riding shoes behind in the hotel room, which is bad enough, but then you can also barely understand why your director is upset with you for doing it. You're not suffering. It's way past that. You're disappearing."

However, the star shines on Armstrong. Strickland believes he's only really at peace on a bike. "His years away from the sport were just a train wreck. He's a guy with so much energy, and so much drive, that he spins out of control," he says. Strickland is now convince that Armstrong is clean. After having time to digest this read, I have a better understanding of his comeback reoriented to selflessly raising awareness about cancer.

Dave Zabriskie cruising at the 2009 Giro.

Dec 19, 2010

Campagnolo 80s Nuovo Record Brake Calipers

Detail of the rear caliper.

My Campy Nuovo Record Brake Calipers from 1987, origin in the seventies. I love the chrome finish with the 'Campagnolo' script!

Front & rear.

Dec 18, 2010

Campagnolo Cone Wrench

Campagnolo makes fine tools and without exception is the Cone Wrenches. I have a set of 13/14mm and a 15/16mm. Origin from the seventies made in bella Italy of hardened steel with comfortable rounded edges.

Used for adjusting cones on hubs, pedals, & brakes. A true star in my trusty toolbox!

Dec 17, 2010

Le Puncheur

1983 Paris Nice...
King Kelly wins stage 3 in front of Francis Castaing (left) & Josef Lieckens.
He'll win a total of 3 stages and the overall!

Sean Kelly was a 'Puncheur'. The rider that had enough tactical cool combine with his famous speed to win big time.

As a sprinter he fared very well on short climbs able to maintain high energy over a short time. He climbed fairly well in the mountains, during the Tour, somewhat of a risk to his sprinting speed.

Paris-Nice suited the Irishman. A short stage race with enough in it for him to win a record seven times (1982-1988)!

Le Puncheur in 1981
Photo: Marcel Segesseman

Dec 16, 2010

Campagnolo Bottom Bracket Tools

More Campy love from my trusty toolbox...

Here's my incomplete bottom bracket tool set, origin from the seventies bought in the eighties. The design is cleverly made to fit comfortably as you grip it. Well built and made to last virtually forever.(left to right) #712/1 Bottom Bracket Adjustable Cup Tool including a 32 mm headset wrench. #713 Bottom Bracket Fixed Cup Tool: including 15 mm Pedal Wrench.

Of course, the only one missing from the group is the Lockring Tool that also includes the 32 mm headset wrench.

Dec 14, 2010

Tango in Italy

'What's our horror-scope say?"

Stephen Roche stormed into the 1987 Giro wanting more than just the co-leader position in the Carrera squad. Management wanted Roberto Visentini (1986 winner) to go for the overall. But, Roche thought otherwise. His early season results was clear indication that he should lead the team. 

The Punch-up...

The Irishman won the Valencia Vuerta and his third Tour of Romandie. Visentini, on the other hand,  had no wins leading up to the Giro.

Both riders took turns wearing the Pink Jersey and on stage 14, cracks appeared in the Carrera team armor. A small breakaway formed and Roche tore away with them leaving race leader, Visentini unable to respond. After the stage, Visentini lost a whopping six minutes & the pink jersey to Roche slipping down the GC. We may never know the real story. But I discovered interesting allegations... That the team was unable to support Visentini and that he had forgotten to eat. 

The accusations continued, complicated by Visentini complaining to the media of Roche's betrayal. There was even talk forbidding Roche from starting the following morning and dropping him from the team for the Tour. 

Uneasy Non Alliance...
Tour '87

More drama. The last week saw Roche holding onto his leaders pink jersey... tightly. The angry tifosi 'welcomed' Roche with insults, clenched fists, & spitting but was not subjected to actual physical damage. Speaking to L'Equipe, Roche revealed after stage 17 on the climb to Monte Bondone, "Towards the end of the stage, I told him (Visentini) that something wasn't working properly on the bike; the handlebars were shaking. Did you see his reaction was? he attacked immediately." Roche's faithful domestique, Eddy Schepers added this about Visentini; "He tried to push me into the ditch. Visentini can't bear the sight of me and it's time this Giro was over."

Visentini didn't deny this saying, "Yes, I did try to kick him up in the air. It's the least I could do."

With the hope of the overall lead fading fast, Visentini seem to suffer from a persecution complex by accusing the entire Fagor team, Robert Millar & Johan Van der Velde of conspiring to help Stephen Roche to win the Giro. With his raving, the Italian media turned a deaf ear and Visentini lost all credibility. Adding injury to his slurs, Visentini crashed and loss a further six minutes to Pila, and finished the stage in pain. Afterwards, the once proud winner in 1986, announced that he was retiring from the Giro due to a wrist injury. A sad way to finish.

Stephen Roche rode with quiet tact and duly won the final ITT stage, to celebrate his Giro victory in grand style. Proving without a doubt that he was the strongest in the 1987 Giro d'Italia.

...Visentini crashes to Pila losing any hopes of victory...
Tour '87

... to Stephen Roche!
photo: Jack Claassen

Dec 13, 2010

Steve Bauer & Team Spidertech Time!

Bring it on...
Bauer Power is Back!

I'm happy to hear that Steve Bauer's Team Spidertech gains Pro Continental status. First ever for a Canadian cycling team. Congratulations and best of luck for the upcoming season in Europe and North America! 

So, here's an inspirational image of a determined Steve Bauer leading Alexi Grewal in the 1984 LA Olympic Road Race.

Dec 12, 2010 a 'Stache!

Urs Freuler wins... 
by a 'stache in front of rookie, Mario Cipollini (r).
 From: 'Tour 89'

1989 Giro d'Italia...

With Movember over, good news from out of the Mo camp that Canada raked in the largest amount in donations (by last count around 15 million). I saw it fit to show another installment of 'Brotherhood of the 'Stache' (first posted here).

Stache star...
Celebrating & rightly so with
 teammate & Maglia Rosa, Erik Breukink.
Photo: Marcel Segessemann

Here's a stache look at two riders endured to the Brotherhood; Urs Freuler & Lech Piasecki the 1989 Giro d'Italia.

Swiss stache sprinter, Urs Freuler collected another stage victory in his huge Giro hat. After his first victory on stage 7, he came back and nudged first year pro, Mario 'Soon to be called Lion King' Cipollini to win his second stage. Amazingly, this will become Freuler's 15th Giro stage win. For Cipo, he never wore a stache but he deserves honorable Giro mention of a record 42 stage wins.

Lech Piasecki, the stache TT specialist won 3 stages, including two time trials. On the last stage, a time trial to Florence, he proceeded to clobber the favorites with his solo power. Notably, he beat out Greg Lemond, by a minute. We all know what happened in the following Tour.

That's my 1989 Giro look at two guys forever linked forever with Giro success winning... by a stache!

Lech Piasecki guided by his familiar stache to 
win stage 10s ITT.
From: 'Tour 89'

Dec 11, 2010

Regina freewheel removal tool

Good mates!

My first freewheel was the Regina CX/CX-S 6 speed 13-14-15-16-17-18 with the indispensable Regina freewheel removal tool (20 splined, origin: 1977, made in Italy). A very excellent close gear ratio freewheel that I used for the relatively flat roads of Edmonton. I love this simple tool. Use with a heavy wrench or for best results a vice to loosen the freewheel from the hub.

Dec 10, 2010

The Prologue: All in good time

Vanderaerden's fast prologue win with 
his Rossin training bike.

1983: A First...

Eric Vanderaerden already had two stage wins, including the Vuelta prologue, and at only 21 years old had a good start as a first year pro. At the Prologue in Fontenay-sous-Bois, odds on favorite Bert Oosterbosch of the strong TI-Raleigh was ready to rack up another prologue win. Oosterbosch was a time trialing animal, in his career he racked up 14 stage prologues including three in the Tour.

Vanderaerden (front centre) started his first pro year with
the small Aernoudt squad.

I believe Vanderaeden had bike problems and had to switch to his Rossin training bike for his Tour debut. No matter, he powered his way on the short 5.5km course and upset the king of the prologues, Oosterbosch to win. A good start for the young sprinter.

Oosterbosch was back into his comfort zone to win the stage 6 ITT & take stage 8 to Bordeaux. As for the up and coming Vaneraeden, he decided that he couldn't stomach the mountains and he opted not to start stage 10. With the daunting cols of the L'Aubusque, Le Tourmalet, Aspin, & Peyresourde threatening, for a sprinter he could not be faulted to skip it.

For the speedy Belgian, he would return to the Tour for greater glory.

Good timing...
Winning his 2nd stage: Oosterbosch beats Kuiper 
to Bordeaux, stage 8.
From: 'Tour 83'

Dec 8, 2010

Campagnolo Nuovo Record Shifter Levers.

Here's my Campagnolo Model #1013/5N 1013/6N Record Friction Levers. Made of aluminum & attached on the downtube braze on. Origin from 1976-mid 1980s, made in Italy. I polished it & it's in excellent shape. Never really looking the age. Interestingly, I discovered that the left hand lever is called '5N' & the right lever is '6N'.

Detail of the lockring engraved...

Dec 7, 2010

The Lion of Flanders

Il Leone
Bettini photos.

Fiorenzo Magni is 90 years old today.

The 1949 Tour of Flanders...
Magni (right), becoming a lion.

This magnificent rider, from the golden age of cycling, had so much skill that he could challenge Fausto Coppi & Gino Bartali. His all around talent help him win three Giro d’Italia (1948, 1951 & 1955). But, further success extended outside the Italian borders.

Riders of the 40s & 50s normally raced in their own countries. Magni thought otherwise and proceeded to win three straight Tours of Flanders (1949-1951). After winning his third Flanders, in 1951, Magni became the second foreigner to conquer the cobbles. The Belgians knew for their beloved race to succeed in stature is from foreign victories. Fiorenzo Magni, the outsider, was soon recognized as the Lion of Flanders.

Like Fausto Coppi, who was also adept at riding over the cobbles, Magni rode over the pave like a true Flandrian. When Coppi won the 1950 Paris-Roubaix, the resilient Magni finished third.

Heartache surely came at the 1950 Tour. After stage 11, Gino Bartali won the stage and Magni took the yellow jersey. Bartali claimed that spectators threatened him after a fall, on top of the Aspin, with Jean Robic. The Italian team withdrew perhaps denying Magni of his place in Tour history. 

His astuteness off the bicycle was equally famous. In 1954, he presented a team promoting Nivea skin cream. He changed the 'face' of cycling by bringing sponsors to cycle racing from outside the bike trade. Advertising as extra-sportif businesses that continues today.

Fiorenzo Magni is the president of the Museo del Ghisallo next to the famous Sanctuary of the Madonna del Ghisallo in Como. One of the oldest living heroes of cycling, he is the ever faithful patron of cycling. Creating a new home for all the momentos & trophies from legendary champions. A champion on and off the bike, Fiorenzo Magni has our unwavering gratitude!

1951 Worlds...
Magni behind Koblet will finish with the silver.
photo: Marcel Segessemann

Dec 6, 2010

Système U

1988 Milano Sanremo

When Renault left cycling sponsorship, in 1985, a sports icon was gone.

Together with the Système U supermarket company, Laurent Fignon & Cyrille Guimard created a new team from 1986-1989.

From Laurent Fignon's book, 'We Were Young & Carefree', he was architect of the new kit design...

"I personally worked on the design of the jersey using the same colours as the Renault kit, with the logo resembling a wheatsheaf pointing upwards. My idea was to make the rider look a bit more slender and maybe more muscular. It worked: the logo was clearly visible with the famous 'U' in red. Looking down from a television helicopter, it was all you could see."

1989 Milano Sanremo...
The Professeur pulls off the double in style!

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