Monday, October 24, 2011

Old Days - Part Four

Whenever the now gets a bit full on and rides are hard to come by I tend to retreat back into the past for inspiration and emotional succour. Here then is my latest (and somewhat arbitrary) collection of photos scanned from my collection of magazines and pulled from various parts of the interweb. I have presented them in roughly chronological order, and with as much information as I have been able to glean. I hope you enjoy.

The road conditions of the early Tours were often diabolical, as can be seen here during the first post-war Tour in 1947 won by Frenchman Jean Robic. Pictured here are Louison Bobet of France (Tour winner 1953-'54-'55) leading Italian great Gino Bartali (winner 1938 and '48) up the awful slopes of the Col De La Croix de Fer.

Luxembourg's first and only winner of the Tour to date was the "Angel of the Mountains" Charly Gaul in 1958. He is pictured here on the rock-strewn slopes of the Col d'Izoard in the '56 edition where he would finish only 13th, but convincingly take the mountains title.

The first five-time winner of the Tour de France was French superstar Jacques Anquetil, seen here climbing in the Alps during his initial win in 1957.

The Cannibal, Eddy Merckx, pictured in 1967 as his rise towards becoming the Greatest Cyclist Ever was really just getting started.

Belgian Champion Walter Godefroot attacks Frenchman Raymond Poulidor during the 1972 Tour de France, eventually won for the fourth time, of course, by the great Eddy Merckx.

Belgian legend Roger de Vlaeminck rides typically hard in his inimitable cocked-wristed style on his way to victory in the 1975 Paris-Roubaix Classic. Known forever as Monsieur Paris-Roubaix, he still holds the record of 4 wins in this most arduous of races, and this was his third success.

Belgian star Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke rides in the 1975 Gran Prix des Nations time trial won by Dutchman Roy Schuiten. I love the gold Mafac centrepull brakes and levers, and still wish I'd snapped up the pair we had in the Bicycle Village cabinet for years...

1977 World Champion Francesco Moser follows his Italian rival Guiseppe Saronni during that years Tour of Lombardy, held just a week after he had won the rainbow jersey in Venezuela. Belgian teammates Johan de Muynck and Roger de Vlaeminck follow, with eventual race winner Gibi Baronchelli just visible tucked in behind Moser. Known as "The Race of the Falling Leaves", due to its autumnal place in the racing calendar, this edition was run in typically foul conditions.

1978 World Champion Gerrie Knetemann (Netherlands) rides alongside Italian (and recently ex-World) Champion Francesco Moser.

1982 Giro d'Italia winner Bernard Hinault (France) copes with some pressure from eventual 2nd placed Tommy Prim of Sweden, with 4th place finisher Mountains Leader Lucien Van Impe (Belgium) in close attendance behind.

French Champion Laurent Fignon rides the 15th stage mountain time trial of the 1983 Tour de France to move within a minute of the yellow jersey being worn by his injured teammate Pascal Simon, who was struggling heroically but futilely with a broken collar bone.

Fignon now wears the yellow jersey he would take that year to Paris, becoming at 22 the youngest Tour winner since Georges Speicher in 1933. He would also win the following years Tour.

Future Spanish great Miguel Indurain gives it some wellie in a time trial during the 1985 Vuelta a España. In the early to mid 1990s Indurain would go on to become the first ever winner of five consecutive Tours de France, along with two Tours of Italy, a World Time Trial Championship and an Olympic TT gold.

1987 World Road Race Champion Stephen Roche of Ireland rides in the Nissan Tour in his home country, finishing second behind compatriot the great Sean Kelly. The rainbow jersey put a stunning cap on a magnificent season for Roche in which he had already won the Giro and the Tour, becoming only the second rider ever to win the Triple Crown after the incomparable Eddy Merckx. Sadly a recurring knee injury would mean he'd never get near to scaling the same glorious heights again...

1991 Italian Champion Gianni Bugno signs autographs before a stage of that year's Tour in which he'd finish 2nd behind Indurain. The powerful all-rounder wouldn't ever win the Tour, but he would go on to win Worlds later in the year as well as the next, to add to his dominant 1990 Giro victory.

Danish National Champion Bjarne Riis rides a time trial during the Tour de France 1995. He would finish 3rd behind Miguel Indurain this year but go on to win in '96, crushing the hopes of the big Spaniard becoming the first six-time Tour winner in the process.

Marco Pantani (Italy) wins the stage and takes the Yellow Jersey atop the climb of Les Deux Alpes during the 1998 Tour de France after destroying previous year's winner Jan Ullrich on the Mighty Galabier...

Pantani soaks in the adulation of the crowd on the Champs-Élysées after his victory in the turbulent 1998 Tour, completing a famous Giro-Tour double and becoming the first Italian to take the Tour since Felice Gimondi in 1965.

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong (USA) descends during the 2002 race, his fourth win.

Three-time World Champion Oscar Friere (Spain) racing in 2003.

The first German winner of the Tour de France was the great Jan Ullrich in 1997. After the Pantani hiccup of '98 he was expected to go on to become the pre-eminent Tour rider of the times, but in 1999 he ran into a large roadblock known as Lance Armstrong who would go on to dominate the Tour until retiring after his 7th win 2005. Here Ullrich is pictured grabbing a snack during the 2003 Tour where he came a heart-breakingly close minute and two seconds away from finally beating the Texan... Der Kaiser puts the hammer down and astoundingly drops The Boss on the climb of Ax Trois Domaines during that hard-fought 2003 Tour, with Armstrong powerless to respond in what would be another near-critical moment of his history equalling fifth Tour victory.

In 2003 the Lion of Flanders, Johan Museeuw, rides the terrible roads of Paris-Roubaix, in which he had held aloft the cobble trophy of winner three times (1996-'00-'02).

I'll finish off by going back in time for a postcard of a friend of mine in his heyday. This is New Zealander/Dutchman Tino Tabak readying himself for the 1973 season. Read Jonathan Kennett's gripping "Tino Tabak: Dreams and Demons of a New Zealand Cycling Legend" for more insight into this fascinating character who was a contemporary and feared competitor of Merckx et al.

Thanks for reading, Oli

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

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wharangi Ride

The sun shone, the work was done, so time to get gone. Here are some pictures from some of my local trails...

I started out on the City to Sea Walkway.

This walkway starts out winding up behind the Berhampore Golf Course...

Onto an increasingly steep trail with increasingly great views.

Amazing to think that this is only ten or fifteen minutes ride from the Wellington CBD.

Designed (I'm guessing) primarily for walkers, the trail hits some brutal pitches at times, pushing the resources of a punter like me. Luckily a seat appeared just in time for me to pause and take stock of the stunning vistas.

Looking back towards the City, Mt Victoria and the harbour.

Over to Mt Albert.

Cook Strait and Baring Head in the far distance.

Just as I was grovelling up (but imagining ripping down!) this track, I hit some long flights of stairs that confirmed my route selection wasn't perhaps my cleverest, all things considered.

Steeds at the summit of the Tawatawa Reserve.

Owhiro Bay from Wharangi.

Looking over Happy Valley towards the Windmill and Polhill.

Heading down Wharangi, and hopefully avoiding the horse dung.

Happy Valley Road looks steep in this shot - maybe it's not just the constant headwind that always makes this such a grovel!

Hitting the bottom of Wharangi.

I ambled up the road, then veered up Todman Street to the War Memorial.

Respect to The Fallen.

Just look at this picturesque town of ours.

Onwards to Highbury Fling.

Then down Transient.

And home...

Cheers, Oli

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Miroir Du Tour '81

The other day my dear friend Henry pressed a pile of goodies into my excited palms, generously donated to the Roadworks Archives by his friend Vitas. As well as a lovely pair of Bianchi shorts, there were a pair of cool postcards and an original copy of French cycling magazine Miroir Du Cyclisme commemorating the 1981 Tour de France. Packed with great photos this is one worth sharing, I thought to myself, so here it is for you to enjoy also. Obviously I haven't scanned every page or picture, but hopefully I've captured the essence of the story in my own words inspired by the pictures. Click on the pictures if you want to see or DL munty great big versions...

First though, here are the shorts.

The first postcard is of the great Bernard Hinault, winner of five Tours de France, the 1980 World Championships and numerous classics including Paris-Roubaix and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. This is a postcard for the French Look distributor of the day, José Alvarez, and was most likely taken in 1985.

This next one is an absolute beauty. While not of him engaged in one of his many legendary cycling feats, it's nonetheless the autographed picture of one of the true Greats of Cycling, Raymond Poulidor. This man was one of the main opponents of both Jacques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx, meaning he straddled two great eras of cycling in his extraordinary 18 year pro career that stretched from 1960 to 1977! I'm super stoked to have his scribble on this Souvenir du Tour from 1991...

Now to the magazine. The July/August 1981 edition of Miroir du Cyclisme featuring that year's Tour de France winner, the great Bernard Hinault. This was Frenchman Hinault's third Tour win of five, and was one of his more dominant wins notable not just for being the triple, but for the emergence of Australia's Phil Anderson, the first non-European ever to wear the fabled Yellow Jersey.

The peloton rolls along during stage 1 around Nice. Bottom left is the nominal American champion, Jonathan "Jacques" Boyer. He wears the Stars and Stripes although he hadn't actually won the title in a race - as the first American to ever ride le Tour he had simply been ordered to wear the National Team jersey by Tour organisers Jacques Goddet and Félix Lévitan to generate publicitaire! Spot the other stars of the day in this shot such as 1972 Olympic Champion and '75 World Champion Hennie Kuiper, 1985 World Champ Claude Criquelion, and Yellow Jersey and 1978 World Champion Gerrie Knetemann, among others...

Bernard Hinault (Gitane) chases Peugeot's young challenger Jean-René Bernaudeau down the descent of the Col de la Roquette on Stage 1 of the 1981 Tour de France around Nice. He didn't get away...

Spanish pocket rocket Vicente Belda (Kelme) drags Johan van de Velde (Netherlands) off the front, as the TI Raleigh hardman defends the yellow jersey that sits on the shoulders of his teammate Gerrie Knetemann after the Dutch super squad's victory in the stage 3 TTT.

The mighty TI Raleigh-Creda squad on their way to also dominating the second Teams Time Trial of the '81 Tour on the Narbonne-Carcassonne 5th stage. The current Yellow Jersey (won in the stage 3 TTT victory) Gerrie Knetemann (Netherlands) heads the line, with defending 1980 Tour winner and fellow Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk second in line.

Phil Anderson doggedly holds KOM Bernard Hinault's wheel on Pla d'Adet on Stage 6 to the ski station of Saint-Lary-Soulan. Belgian climber and 1976 Tour winner Lucien Van Impe (Boston) won the stage, but Anderson hung tough and took Australia's first ever Maillot Jaune by finishing with Hinault 27 seconds later...apparently Hinault was scathing about Le Skippy's impertinence in daring to be there, and went so far as to publicly insult the Aussie.

The 1976 Tour Champion Lucien Van Impe on his way to victory on Pla d'Adet. The Belgian climber's eventual polka-dot jersey he would take to Paris this year was the fifth of six. That final tally won after the 1983 Tour was a record that equalled that of the Eagle of Toledo, Federico Bahamontes, and a record that Van Impe refused to break out of respect for the 1959 Tour winner. The record now stands at 7 titles, and is held by the Frenchman Richard Virenque who never did show much respect.

Aussie legend Phil Anderson (Peugeot) tries hard but unsuccessfully to defend the Maillot Jaune in the Stage 7 Nay-Pau individual time trial during his breakout Tour performance.

King of the Mountains Bernard Hinault overcooks a tricky corner during the Nay-Pau TT - amazingly he somehow avoided crashing and went on to win the stage and take the lead on GC.

Stage winner and new Maillot Jaune Hinault grudgingly congratulates Anderson on his spirited but failed fight to hang onto the yellow jersey after the Stage 7 Nay-Pau TT.

La Redoute-Motobecane's Bernard Vallet (France) apparently is famous within the peloton for living "le métier" to the fullest extent - i.e. he is a true professional. In this interesting sequence of shots he is meticulously checking his seat height and alignment with the Team mechanic.

TI Raleigh-Creda's Ad Wijnands (Netherlands) takes his first of two wins in the '81 Tour as he sprints to victory over Spaniard Juan Fernández (Kelme) on Stage 9 from Rochefort-sur-mer into Nantes.

Belgian superstar Freddy Maertens (Sunair-Sport 80) pulls on the Maillot Vert he wore for most of the Tour and onto the podium in Paris. This erratic genius would win five sprint stages in total in what was really only his second good year of his entire career, after his standout 1976 Tour in which he won an astounding 8 stages and wore yellow for 10 days!

Belgian Eddy Schepers (DAF Trucks) struggles with the pace of Frenchman Jean-René Bernaudeau (Peugeot) during stage 12 from Compiègne to Roubaix.

Up ahead Briton Paul Sherwen (La Redoute-Motobecane) is pushing ahead in a doomed 110km breakaway with Adri Van Houwelingen (Vermeer-Thijs) on the cobbled stage to Roubaix, won in the end by Belgian Danny Willems.

The bunch smashes over the cobbles on the epic Compeigne-Roubaix stage. Points leader Freddy Maertens and KOM Lucien van Impe can be seen dealing with the fallout of the pressure being exerted on Hinault's Maillot Jaune by the furious chase after a break containing the defending champion Zoetemelk.

The peloton ascends a typical Belgian climb during the 13th stage between Roubaix in northern France and Belgium's capital, Brussels.

Freddy Maertens looks pretty relaxed after taking out his third stage victory of the '81 Tour on stage 13 into Brussels.

And here Maertens takes his fourth win on stage 15 into Hasselt in Belgium over fellow Belgians Eddy Planckaert (Splendor) and Fons De Wolf (Vermeer-Thijs).

Phil Anderson wears the Maillot Blanc of U25 leader but it won't save him as the Maillot Jaune swallows him up 5 kilometres from the stage finish. Hinault started 2 minutes after him in the Mulhouse time trial and would take another 58 seconds off him by the time the 38.5km test was over...

Irishman Sean Kelly (Splendor) wins the tough and hilly 17th stage into Thonon-Les-Bains.

An unnamed climb deep in the Alps.

French pretender to the Hinault crown Jean-René Bernaudeau was a reknowned descender in his day, and this is a great photo of him doing his stuff.

Hinault piles on the pressure on the Col de Glandon during Stage 19 to Alpe d'Huez. Dutchman and 1980 Tour winner Joop Zoetemelk (TI Raleigh-Creda) on his left shoulder, and Van Impe behind in the Maillot Pois.

Dutchman Peter Winnen (Capri-Sonne) in the process of conquering the famed Alpe d'Huez as he wins stage 19.

Attrition and the brutal pace dictated by Hinault has whittled the field down to three men on stage 20 to Le Pleynet, Belgian prodigy Fons de Wolf (Vermeer-Thijs), Frenchman Jean-René Bernaudeau (Peugeot) and Le Blaireau himself, and he's not sticking around for long as this is the exact moment he puts the survivors to the sword.

Hinault cracks De Wolf and Bernadeau on his way to victory atop Le Pleynet.

Phil Anderson and Belgian Danny Willems (Capri-Sonne) try futilely to drag a group away from Tour leader Bernard Hinault (Gitane/France) on the road to St Priest, Stage 21.

Danny Willems (Capri-Sonne) wins into St Priest from Hinault, stage 21. Willems had already won stage 12 in the iconic Roubaix Velodrome.

The peloton hits the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris on the final stage of the 1981 Tour de France. Maertens would take his fifth win of the 1981 Tour on these storied streets.

The final podium in Paris. From left: Points Leader Freddy Maertens (Belgium/SunAir-Sport 80), 3rd on GC Robert Alban (France/La Redoute-Motobecane), 1981 Tour de France Champion Bernard Hinault (France/Renault-Elf-Gitane), 2nd on GC and King of the Mountains Lucien Van Impe (Belgium/Boston-Mavic) and 5th placed GC and U25 winner Peter Winnen (Netherlands/Capri-Sonne).

Hope you enjoyed this trip back to the time in cycling that formed my love of this great sport.

Thanks for reading, Oli