Showing posts with label Hugo Koblet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hugo Koblet. Show all posts

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chapeau Ferdi!

Ferdi Kubler is a living legend. He is the oldest Tour champion alive, at the age of 92.

During his riding days he was known as 'The Cowboy' with a love for the Stetson hat. From 1950-1952 was his most successful years on the bike rewarding him with huge wins: 1950 Tour, Liege-Bastogne-Liege (1951, 1952), Fleche Wallonne (1951, 1952), Tour de Suisse (1951), Tour de Romandie (1951) and World Road Champion (1951).

An impressive palmares in a short two year span.

Chapeau Ferdi!

Here's an excellent video on Kubler winning the 1951 Tour de Suisse.
With an equally fine performance by Hugo Koblet. I know why
they called him 'The Pedaller of Charm.'

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Crowing once again!

Troisième étoiles...
French sporting icons Yannick Noah & Bernard Hinault welcoming back
Le Coq Sportif!

The exciting 2012 Tour de France route was presented today along with an old favorite...

Le Coq Sportif returns as the official jersey. Magnifique! The French icon clothing manufactuer first supplied team jerseys at the 1951 Tour.

Bernard Hinault and French tennis great, Yannick Noah presented the new yellow jersey. I'm reading, Slaying The Badger by Richard Moore and interestingly these two French champions were the last of their kind. Yannick Noah was the last Frenchman to win the French Open in 1983 and Hinault was the last time a French rider won Le Tour in 1985.

Both men, sporting icons from the eighties looked pumped and showcased the new yellow jersey. Yannick Noah is a popular singer and of course, Bernard Hinault works with the Tour de France organization.

Two French icons, bringing back a true French sporting icon... something worth to crow about!

Tour icons wearing Le Coq...
1951 Tour winner, Hugo Koblet and Abdel-Keder Zaaf (66th overall).

Friday, July 2, 2010

The best of the best.

Lean on me!

Two great heroes of the 1951 Tour.

Swiss Hugo Koblet the charismatic winner & Algerian Abdel-Kader Zaaf the Lantern Rouge!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Pedaler's of Charm.

Never a hair out of place for Koblet!

We all know that cycle racing is one of the toughest sports around. A rider must have the obvious physical strength and will to succeed. I believe that these rider's charmed their way to success and became legendary...

French singer, Jacques Grello dubbed Swiss star Hugo Koblet ‘le pedaleur of charme’ for his fluid style of winning the 1951 Tour. His goggles were never out of place either on his forehead or wrapped over his left forearm. He always had a sponge to wipe off the beads of sweat from his brow. A pocket comb was always at the ready as he crossed the finish line. Better to always look good after a stage. The cycling press called him ‘as beautiful as a god’. And the women knew that too. The man personified cool.

The Eagle had that certain charm.

First Spanish rider to win the Tour was Federico Bahamontes. He already staked his place as a great grimpeur, winning KOM’s in all three grand Tours. He had an explosive character once throwing his cycling shoes over a cliff and calling it quits. But better yet he flew in the mountains and the ‘Eagle of Toledo’ was pure class at the 1959 Tour.

Another charmer was Charly Gaul. The little man could climb and his domain was the mountains and surprisingly the time trials. He was a temperamental sort and known to have a sad and timid face. But, his time was in the fifties. He was flying and won the Giro (1956/59) & the Tour (1958). With his boyish good looks he made an impression on the Italian women. Legend has it that he received up to 60 love letters some days.

Gaul was an heartthrob to the women.

René Vietto became the darling of France for selfless sacrifice. It was 1934 and the twenty year old domestique worked for Antonin Magne. He did so in the Pyrenees as his leader Magne fell during a descent and broke his front wheel. Vietto got the word and turned back up the mountain towards his unlucky captain. A 'wheel of fortune' turned for the French team as Speicher gave his wheel to Magne. Vietto gave his front wheel to co-leader Speicher and wept by the side of the road waiting for a spare wheel. Thus the famous image. The next day was more sacrifice as Magne broke his chain. Vietto gave him his bike and help Magne win that Tour. He did what every domestique was suppose to do.

Even Magne wasn't permitted to ride the victory lap without Vietto. That day he was crowned King René and a banner had the words: 'Long live Vietto, the moral winner of the Tour.' He was legendary and at his roadside grave on a mountain pass near his hometown is a holy shrine for cycling fans.

Charm certainly has it's rewards!

King René's self sacrifice was alluring.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

An eyeful.

Braveheart with goggles at the ready.
From: The Unknown Tour de France.

For the past week I'm enduring a painful stye on my eyelid. Now, with the help of anti-biotics it's slowly healing. If it doesn't drain itself by next weekend, I'll have to go see a specialist for relief. That means lancing it. Crossing my fingers that it doesn't go that far. Which leads me to think of how much hardship racing cyclists had to endure back when there were unpaved roads...

During his riding days, the 1937 Tour winner, Roger Lepebie was particularly mindful of the terrible road conditions he encountered.  “The roads were dreadful. There were potholes that we used to call birds’ nests, pebbles, dust, gravel. We got lots of saddle sores because of the dirt, the cow dung. It was easy to get infected." said Lapebie.

Goggles were key in deflecting the copious amount of road grime from the riders' eyes. I'm sure styes were a common affliction back then. And, to think that something so practical would become a wonderful emblem of that era. The graceful Swiss star, Hugo Koblet, along with his matinee idol looks  gave cycling that added dimensional star quality. He was always seen with his patented goggles on his head or usually wrapped around his left forearm. 

Koblet's 1951 Tour:

Flamboyant: with goggles on.

In 1950, Koblet became the first non-Italian  to win the Giro d'Italia before claiming victory in the Tour of Switzerland. His star was already rising as he entered the 1951 Tour de France. The 26 year old manhandled the 'stars' of the peloton; Geminiani, Coppi, Magni, Ockers into submission. On stage 11, Brive to Agen, the Swiss soloed to victory. After he crossed the finish line, he took time to look at his Swiss watch pulled a comb and sponge from out of his pocket to groom himself before meeting the astonished fans & journalists. He suavely collected five stages and was dubbed, 'The peddler of charm' by songster Jacques Grello and  'Apollo on a bike'  by L'Equipe. This classy rider rode into Paris as the 1951 Tour victor commanding a 22 minute lead over second place finisher, Raphael Geminiani. 

Style: 'Apollo on a bike.'
From: Cycling's Golden Age.

Months later, Koblet contracted a mysterious venereal disease in Mexico. He never was the same graceful rider again and retired in 1956. Then, in 1964, he left as fast as his star ascended crashing his Alfa Romero into a tree. Was it marital or debt problems? Suicide is suspected... 

Hugo Koblet was only 39!

'The pedaler of charm!'
From: Maillot Jaune.
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