Monday, September 27, 2010

Old Days - Part Two

Here are some more of the images I have been revisiting as I continue on my epic journey down the windy and cobbled streets of my mind. I'm really not sure why I've chosen some of the pictures or riders I've chosen, but each of them for some reason resonate so I feel sure you'll see something in them too. I have been getting some great feedback about these more historical posts so I hope you enjoy this later selection as we move through the 80s and into the 90s...

Suntour Superbe Pro ad, February 11th 1984. Superbe components were easily the equal of anything coming out of Italy...not that I would have admitted that at the time.

English riders Malcolm Elliot (still racing at an elite level!) and Paul Smith racing in the March Hare race at London's Eastway, March 1984.

The great Sean Kelly (SKIL-Reydel) on his way to the first of two wins for the tough Irishman in the gruelling Paris-Roubaix one day Classic. Issue dated April 21st 1984.

Campagnolo Victory advertisement 1984.

The late Frenchman Laurent Fignon (Renault-Gitane) TTing during his 1983 Tour de France win. Issue dated July 14th 1984, just prior to his going on to win Tour number two later that month.

Greg LeMond (Renault-Gitane), the USA's first pro Road World Champion, shows off his Rainbow Jersey atop a tricked out aero Gitane in a time trial of the 1984 Tour de France. In his first Tour he went on to finish third behind team mate Fignon.

Australian hard man domestique Allan Peiper (Peugeot) wearing the sprint leader's jersey of the televised Kellog's Criterium Series held in various city centres around the UK. September 1984.

Much to my youthful bemusement tricycle racing was clearly still big in the UK in the 80s, and apparently still is. At the Bicycle Village we used to have a conversion kit to turn any road bike into a trike by fitting a strutted axle with two wheels and cogs in place of your usual rear wheel, and Henry and I would blast around Ghuznee, Cuba, Vivian and Marion Streets in mad three-wheeled spurts somewhere between a crit and a time trial, with crazy cornering to boot...This is a fellow called John Read racing in a tricycle-only time trial in October 1984.

Great Britain rider Chris Walker during a stage he won of the Brisbane-Sydney stage race in November 1984. I love his Gazelle...

Brit Paul Sherwen (La Redoubte-Motobecane) struggles over the Mighty Col du Galibier during the 1984 Tour de France, from the cover of a December '84 issue.

Italian Stallion Francesco Moser (Gis Gelati) rides a version of the funny bike he used to set his hour record during the 1984 World Track Championships individual pursuit in Spain.

Italy's 1986 World Champion Moreno Argentin (Gewiss-Bianchi) puts in an attack during the 1987 Giro.

Ecoflam's Johan Van de Velde shows his hardman cred leading over the Passo di Gavia in an epic blizzard during the 1988 Giro d'Italia. The Dutchman was overtaken though on the descent into Bormio the day's stage winner Erik Breukink and eventual Giro victor Andy Hampsten when he had to stop to pee on his hands to warm them up. I think gloves might have been a better idea...

The first, and to date only, American winner of the Giro d'Italia was talented climber Andy Hampsten (7-11 Hoonved), seen here grabbing a feed from the European peloton's first female soigneur Shelley Verses during that historic 1988 event.

A somewhat text heavy (like I can talk!) ad for Regina Extra chains and gear clusters from a June '88 issue - I have fortunate enough to have two of the America Superleggera clusters in my shop still in their tins.

1990 Giro d'Italia winner Gianni Bugno (Chateau d'Ax) is all class in pink as he powers his silver filet-brazed Moser up a climb ahead of France's second-place getter Charly Mottet (RMO).

American World Champion Greg LeMond riding the final time trial in the 1990 Tour de France that would prove to be the last of his three wins. He won this Tour without taking a single stage win, only taking the yellow jersey after coming 5th in this TT on the penultimate day!

Spain's great 5-time Tour Champion Miguel Indurain (Banesto) chucks it into the big dog during his third consecutive win of five in the 1993 Tour de France.

After 15 years of trying to win the race he always thought suited him best, quintessential FrenchmanGilbert Duclos-Lassalle (GAN) won Paris-Roubaix in 1992 at the age of 37 then, amazingly, again the following year at 38. Here he despairingly fails to defend his '93 title in the hideous 1994 edition won by Ukranian/Moldavian/Russian/Belgian Andrei Tchmil (Lotto). Note the adapted Rock Shox used by Duclos and the man following him on a doomed Bianchi full-suspension road bike, Johan Museeuw. Museeuw would himself go on to become a three-time winner of this most brutal of all bike races.

Russian Evgeni Berzin (Gewiss-Ballan) time trialling in the 1995 Giro, a race he had won spectacularly in 1993 over Indurain himself but would never win again. Rider turned TV commentator Allan Peiper saw this Bianchi TT bike and laughingly said, "He's roiding a ladies boike!"

The winner of that 1995 Giro d'Italia was Swiss star Toni Rominger (Mapei-GB), who had dominated the last three Tours of Spain and totally crushed all comers at the Giro. But Rominger could never get the elusive Tour de France win he sought due to the small problem of Big Mig standing in his way. Here he collects the Maglia Ciclamino as Giro points leader before going on to also take the pink jersey he would wear to the finish in Milan.

Frenchman Laurent Jalabert (ONCE) in the 1995 Tour de France on his way to a superb stage victory atop the Côte de la Croix Neuve at Mende (now the Montée Laurent Jalabert!) on Bastille Day. He is wearing the Maillot Vert of points leader that he would keep for his eventual 4th place finish on GC in Paris.

A great shot of Tour stage winner ('88), yellow jersey holder ('94) and legendary descender Sean Yates (Motorola) doing his thing during the 1995 Tour de France. The Sussex man was highly regarded as a domestique, as well as being a high-finisher and perennial contender in Paris-Roubaix in his own right.

Everyone expected the first Spanish World Road Champion to be El Rey, Miguel Indurain. But in Duitama, Colombia in 1995 Indurain played the consummate teammate as compatriot Abraham Olano (Mapei-GB) attacked and soloed in to the victory on a rapidly flattening rear tyre. Indurain outsprinted the upstart Marco Pantani (Italy) for the silver medal, to add to the Spanish success.

The legendary and somewhat extraordinary Scot Graeme Obree wearing the World Champion jersey he won in the individual pursuit in 1995 riding to 3rd place in a World Cup meet in early '96.

Say what you like, but Mario Cipollini (Saeco) always carried off any look he chose. Here he is in the Maglia Ciclamino (points leader) jersey during the 1997 Giro. He never managed to make it over the Alps during the Tour de France, but the big Italian sprinter made it to Milan to finish the Giro d'Italia in this jersey three times...

Italian Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno) defending his Yellow Jersey in the final TT of the 1998 Tour de France, the year he managed to stun Jan Ullrich and win a historic Giro-Tour double. Of course the '98 Tour would forever be blighted by the Festina Affair drugs scandal, and Pantani himself would be disgraced the following year after a positive drugs test (see comments below) got him thrown off the 1999 Giro while he was in the pink leaders jersey. Despite some brief flashes of who he had been Pantani's career never recovered - he would eventually die of a massive cocaine and prescription drugs overdose, brought on many would say through his associations with the Dark Side of cycling.

Anyone who has paid even cursory attention to cycling in the last ten or so years will know the name Lance Armstrong. I was a fan long before his famous and career-defining bout of illness and, despite the gathering storm around him, I still admire his incredible strength and implacable will and am proud to continue to call myself a fan.

Here is my favourite ever photo of Armstrong, in which he's not winning one of his seven Tours de France or even winning the 1993 worlds, but on his way to 4th place in the 1998 World Championships road race, Valkenburg, Holland during his comeback from cancer. He also finished 4th in the time trial that year, following on from another 4th place in the preceding Vuelta a España! I knew then that he could win the Tour.

This shot was inspirational to me during some very dark personal times. No matter where the current Armstrong investigation takes us I'll always be glad of his unknowing help back then.

As ever, thanks for reading.

Please note that I have written several more Old Days posts - check the sidebar for the links.


Brett said...

Nice stuff Oli.. But Pantani didn't return a positive drug test at the Giro, it was a haematocrit reading above the 50% limit.

Oli said...

Quite right Brett, but I didn't want to go into the boring ins and outs of the whole squalid saga so took a literary liberty...

Is this payback for commenting on Agostinho not being a Dutchman? :p

Brett said...

Haha, no that was Frank's doing anyway... I wouldn't have known either way!

barry davies said...

love the Pantani picture, have just bought a brand new frame the same as this Bianchi. its being painted as the team bikes as I type, cannot wait to ride it in a time trial. any idea who built them Oli ?????

Oli said...

I'm not too sure, Barry! I always thought that one in the picture was a titanium Litespeed, but I'm open to correction on that point. I'm guessing yours is Dedacciai aluminium? If so, my understanding is that most of the Bianchi TT rigs were actually built in house at the famed Reparto Corse. Thanks for reading, Oli

barry said...

thanks for that Oli, yes its Dedacciai alu, word here is that they were built in Pinarello, the frame number starts M98, also Pantani used to change his frames that often that he used various frame builders in and around Tuscany. Will send an e mail to the factory to see they can shed any light on it, do you want me to send you some pics before and after spraying, it was in alloy when I got it having never been painted. the forks are 700cc and I think the team bikes used 650cc. Like you am a Bianchi fan. Am in the uk wales to be exact.. cheers get well soon.

Oli said...

Thanks, Barry! I did know that Pantani used several different builders for his frames but I never knew that about any of them being built by Pinarello - fascinating stuff! I'd be super keen on seeing (and blogging!) and pictures or further info you can come up with...Great stuff! Cheers, Oli

barry davies said...

let me have have an email to mail them to please.or send me a mail and will send them by return thanks barry

Oli said...

Hi Barry,

I can be emailed at

Nice one, Oli

barry said...

Hi Oli
hopeyou got the mail and pics regards barry

Oli said...

I did indeed, thanks Barry! As I said in the email, some great pics and info in there. Cheers, Oli