Australia has, over the years, been characterized by a lively cycling culture. In addition to its unique domestic scene, the Lucky Country has done well internationally since the first Aussies went to the Tour de France in 1914. “Wheel Life 2” is a fascinating look at Australian cycling in the 1970s and 1980s, as it was poised for success.
The Race Across America saw its 2022 edition launch from California on June 14 as 33 solo riders set off for Maryland, to be reached in less than 12 days. June 18 was the day when RAAM team categories set off on the same course. In their number, Team GCN rides with the determination to set the fastest time a RAAM has ever been completed by a pair of riders.
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.
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…
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.”