The Spanish rider, Julio Jiménez, was three times king of the mountains and second overall in the 1967 Tour, a close friend of Jacques Anquetil, died on Wednesday morning in the Nuestra Señora de Sonsoles de Ávila hospital due injuries he suffered in a traffic accident.
In the late 1990s, Frank Vandenbrouke, known to his fans as “God” or “VDB,” set the professional cycling world on fire with his exciting performances and assertive style but in only a few short years his rocketing star burned out, and the end came in a squalid hotel room in Africa after a decade of spiralling downhill.
Ah, Bella Italia! For many of us it is the Promised Land of Cycling, with its professional cyclists whose names could be those of opera singers. An interesting book from Australia relates the story of cycling in Italy, interwoven with an historical narrative of the country. Leslie Reissner reviews “Great Rivalries - Cycling and the Story of Italy” by Kevin Andrews.
The Giro d'Italia has, since its beginning, played host to great drama, and one of these is the story of Fausto Coppi, a heroic and tragic figure of bike racing's Golden Age. On January 2 every year there is a big event in Castellania, a tiny village in Italy’s Piedmont region. Cycling fans from all over come to pay homage.
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…