Don't be misled by the title of this excellent book. “Pantana Was A God” is not a panegyric, a worshipful recounting of the life of the last pro cyclist to win the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in the same year. It is two books in one - a masterful look at when Pantani triumphed, and brief remembrances by those who knew him.
Thanks to “Maglia Rosa: Triumph and Tragedy at the Giro d’Italia” by British author/Italian resident Herbie Sykes we have not only an English-language history of the Giro d’Italia, which is in itself distressingly rare, but an extraordinarily entertaining book.
Rest in Peace, Dutchman Harm Ottenbros who died recently at 78 years-of-age. The man was best known for his world professional road race championship title in 1969; but sadly his win has been added to the list of ‘unworthy’ world champions along with the likes of Benoni Beheyt, Luc Leblanc and Laurent Brochard.
The Race Across America (RAAM) fascinates and repels at the same time. An epic event launched in 1982, the route currently runs from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland, a distance of roughly 4,800 kms (3,000 miles). The race is not divided into stages but rather it is up to individual racers or team members how far they will ride each day, checking in at 55 stations along the way. It puts extraordinary demands on participants, whether riders or support crew, and this is superbly…
Our world of cycling offers so much variety, from commuting, singletracking, bikepacking or, if you have an amazing sense of balance, you can impress by riding indoors in circles during the UCI Art Cycling Championships. There are all kinds of different cycling events to watch and, as a new documentary on GCN+ reveals, you can be a bicycle collector in a completely unique style.
Everyone's favourite dysfunctional team returns to you-are-there video as Season 2 of “The Least Expected Day,” a very intimate portrait of Movistar, the World Tour professional cycling team that just can't seem to get it together, streams worldwide on Netflix.
Not so much a book review, but more Ed Hood's memories of the 'Enfant Terrible' - Frank Vandenbroucke, who was sadly taken from us at only 34 years of age. 'God is Dead: The Rise and Fall of Frank Vandenbroucke, Cycling's Great Wasted Talent' by Andy McGrath looks at the life of VDB.
Cycling offers a grand buffet of disciplines, from the narrow specialities of track racing to the diversity needed for the open road, mountains or the looney antics of cyclocross. The origins, history and present state of road racing are nicely summarized in author Chris Sidwells' book, “The Call of the Road: The History of Cycle Road Racing.”
The Giro d'Italia has been won more than once by 22 riders, but only eight of riders have managed to win consecutive races. In the postwar period, only Coppi, Merckx and Indurain have managed. Oh, and a somewhat lesser figure-Franco Balmamion, who is the subject of a beautiful book from Rapha Editions that is as much a loving ode to cycling fandom and Italian quirkiness as it is about Balmamion.